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  • 1.
    Hagström, Linus
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Political Science Section, Sektionen för säkerhet. Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Sweden.
    Pan, Chengxin
    Deakin University, Australia.
    Traversing the Soft/Hard Power Binary: The Case of the Sino-Japanese Territorial Dispute2019In: Review of International Studies, ISSN 0260-2105, E-ISSN 1469-9044Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Soft power and hard power are conceptualised in International Relations as empirically and normatively dichotomous, and practically opposite – one intangible, attractive, and legitimate, the other tangible, coercive, and less legitimate. This article critiques this binary conceptualisation, arguing that it is discursively constructed with and for the construction of Self and Other. It further demonstrates that practices commonly labelled and understood as soft power and hard power are closely interconnected. Best understood as ‘representational force’ and ‘physical force’ respectively, soft and hard power intertwine through the operation of productive and disciplinary forms of power. We illustrate this argument by analysing the Sino-Japanese dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. Both governments exercise representational force in constructing their respective versions of events and Self/Other. The soft/hard power binary itself plays a performative role as the Self is typically associated with soft power and the Other with hard power. The operation of productive power, moreover, privileges the attractiveness of the former and the repellence of the latter, and disciplinary power physically enforces these distinctions on subjects in both states. Finally, reinforced Self/Other distinctions legitimise preparations for violence against the Other on both sides, thus exposing how fundamentally entangled soft and hard power are in practice.

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