Weapons of Mass Distraction
Soft Power and American EmpireBook - 2003
Mao Zedong once warned that American pop cultural products were 'candy-coated bullets.' He was wrong on only one point: Their impact is much more powerful. One recent marketing study found that, around the world, the golden arches are now more widely recognized than is the Christian cross. That's soft power in action. Hard power refers to military resources. Soft power, a term originally coined by Harvard professor Joseph Nye, refers to symbolic resources. Soft power is cultural--everything from Madonna songs and Mickey Mouse to Big Macs and Coca Cola. These cultural icons, logos and brands are, says Matthew Fraser, weapons of mass distraction. This book examines the roll of pop culture in global diplomacy and argues, with well-researched historical evidence, that American global influence has depended on soft power advantages since the First World War, when Hollywood first emerged as an ally of the White House. Included are chapters on movies, television, music, fast food and theme parks. This provocative book is about American power--its sources, its influence and the deeply paradoxical reactions it provokes. It analyzes American soft power as a strategic resource in international affairs. Soft Power presents two alternatives for the coming world order: Will national identities decline as the world order is transformed into a state of electronic feudalism where there is no central power? Or will the American empire endure into the 21st century, as we continue to live under a Pax Americana?
Publisher: Toronto, Ont. : Key Porter Books, c2003.
Characteristics: 288 p. ;,24 cm.