South Korean Soft Power and How South Korea Views the Soft Power of Others

  • Sook Jong Lee
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy book series (GPD)


The notion of soft power has emerged as an important ingredient in foreign policy in the last decade or so. Jan Melissen writes that it was during the First World War that professional image cultivation across national borders was started and that international politics woke up to see the importance of soft power.1 Today, as Melissen points out, the loss of soft power—which can be termed the “post-modern variant of power over opinion”—is increasingly costly, since people are more connected because of the global information revolution and multiple transnational linkages. Soft power matters in today’s information age. The information revolution has a decentralizing and leveling effect by reducing costs, economies of scale, and barriers of entry to markets, thus reducing the power of large states and enhancing the power of small states and nonstate actors.2 As power is interdependent and information sources are abundant, soft power is likely to become less a function of material resources than in the past.3


Foreign Policy Popular Culture Soft Power Official Development Assistance South Korean Government 
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© Sook Jong Lee and Jan Melissen 2011

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  • Sook Jong Lee

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