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Taking Smart Power Seriously: The Classical Realist Legacy
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Political Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2015 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The concept of smart power has gained currency in recent years, not least, or in particular, through the writings of Joseph Nye. This paper departs from the proposition that smart power is a deeply problematic notion, and this for several reasons. On the one hand, the term as such is infelicitously rhetorical, suggesting a distinction between smart and not-so-smart (dumb) strategies. On the other hand, from a conceptual point of view, the idea of smart power as a successful combination of soft and hard power comes dangerously close to triviality. The purpose of this paper is to take smart power seriously, claiming that the term actually covers a conceptual understanding and ideals of practice with much more depth than meets the eye, falling back on important elements of the classical realist tradition of international thought. By highlighting the connection between current, policy-oriented statements and understandings of smart power, and principal elements of classical realism, I attempt to bring increased theoretical depth and contour to the concept and – in effect – a re-interpretation of the idea of smart power. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Political Science History of Ideas
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-123018OAI: diva2:875814
9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations: The Worlds of Violence, 23 – 26 September, 2015, Giardini Naxos, Sicily, Panel TB43: The Realist Tradition
Available from: 2015-12-02 Created: 2015-12-02 Last updated: 2015-12-10

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Jansson, Per
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Political ScienceFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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