What is Soft Power?

Almost twenty years ago, Joseph Nye made a distinction between hard power (making things happen through force) and soft power (making things happen through attraction). Although hard power seems masculine, expressed through muscle and money, and soft power seems feminine, expressed through relationship and influence, it is not always men who use hard power and women who use soft.

Even so, with leadership still as much as 80% male across the board, we do have an overwhelmingly hard-powered global culture - competitive, profit driven and politically, environmentally and humanely disconnected.

Hard power makes for great progressive strides in science, engineering and military dominance. But if it is not balanced with soft power, human well-being gets left behind.

Indeed, both hard and soft power have their strengths and weaknesses. Too hard is disconnected, inhumane. But too soft is lost in connectivity with no real direction. We need both. And unless we can develop a much better understanding of soft power in this era of hard power, it is unlikely that we will develop an effective partnership between the two.

The Soft Power Network is for those who are ready to explore the potential of soft power - what its elements are, how it functions in our personal, social and political lives - and champion it. Because it is a kind of power that women feel comfortable pursuing, this may become a platform for feminine self-expression. Men are very welcome: we all have hard and soft ways of being.

For more about Soft Power email Indra Adnan

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Soft Power – Advocacy




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