China’s Quest for “Soft Power”: Imperatives, Impediments, and Irreconcilable Tensions
Yuezhi Zhao, Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Political Economy of Global Communication at the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University
Focal Point: Reinventing East Asia- & Information in Society Speaker Series
Date: Thursday, April 28 2011
Public Lecture: 3:30pm – 5:00pm (126 GSLIS )
Small Group Discussion: 5:00pm-6:00Pm (126 GSLIS)
From establishing Confucius Institutes all over the world to mounting an advertising blitz in New York’s Times Square, the Chinese state’s multifaceted endeavour to strengthen its “soft power” has been highly visible and the subject of much recent journalistic and scholarly attention. This talk locates the Chinese state’s “soft power” quest within historical and geopolitical contexts and critically examines its profoundly contradictory underpinning political economy and cultural politics. While this campaign’s political and moral imperatives appear self-evident, its structural impediments seem to be insurmountable. Furthermore, there are irreconcilable tensions between a drive to pursue an essentially elitist, technocratic, andculturalist approach to global communication and a capacity to articulate and communicate an alternative global political and social vision that appeals to the vast majority of the world population in a deeply divided and crises-laden global order.
Yuezhi Zhao is Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Political Economy of Global Communication at the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University. She is also a Changjiang Lecture Professor at the Communication University of China, Beijiing. Dr. Zhao’s work concerns both domestic Chinese communication politics and the role of media and information technologies in the global transformations linking to China’s real and imagined rise as a major world political economic power. Her recent books include Communication in China: Political Economy, Power, and Conflict (2008), Global Communications: Toward a Transcultural Political Economy (co-edited with Paula Chakravartty, 2008) and Democratizing Global Media: One World, Many Struggles (co-edited with Robert Hackett, 2005).
Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies
Center for Global Studies
Information in Society Program, Graduate School of Library and Information Science