Measuring Soft Power in the International System

June 2019 No Comments

“Measuring Soft Power in the International System

Speaker: Wu, I. (Georgetown University)

Date: 6 June 2019

Speaker Session Preview

SMA hosted speaker session presented by Dr. Irene Wu (Georgetown University) as a part of its SMA Minerva Speaker Series. During her presentation, Dr. Wu explained why soft power matters and how to measure soft power’s influence on broader considerations of geopolitics. She stated that soft power is often given short shrift because it is difficult to quantify. Moreover, measuring soft power’s impact also challenging. Dr. Wu identified examples of small, medium, and large indications of soft power influence: watching a foreign TV show, visiting or studying in a foreign country, or moving your family to a foreign country, respectively. She explained that these indicators reveal how significant of an impact soft power can have on populations and how certain data sources can help make soft power become at least somewhat quantifiable. Next, Dr. Wu compared immigration statistics from both Russia and China, as well as study abroad, foreign visitor, and foreign movie audience statistics. In summary, Russia is currently far more open to immigrants than China, though China is a much bigger player in the movie industry than Russia. She then compared immigration, emigration, foreign visitor, and study abroad statistics from Japan and Korea to gain a sense of their primary sources of soft power. In summary, Japan attracts far more foreigners than South Korea, while South Korea sends far more nationals abroad. For her third case study, Dr. Wu examined migration into South Africa from 1990-1995 (the tail end of apartheid) and from 2010-2015. These figures indicated a massive increase in foreign visitors from a larger variety of countries in the post-apartheid years. Dr. Wu then discussed the . relationship between hard and soft power, while using the UK and France as examples. To conclude, Dr. Wu highlighted her key takeaways and her future research plans.

Speaker Session Audio File

Download Dr. Wu’s Biography and Slides


Submit A Comment