The Research on the Soft Power of City Culture

By Lin, Dan; Li, Wenjuan et al. | Studies in Sociology of Science, June 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Research on the Soft Power of City Culture


Lin, Dan, Li, Wenjuan, Hong, Xiaonan, Studies in Sociology of Science


1. THE BASIC CONNOTATION OF THE SOFT POWER OF CITY CULTURE

"Soft power" was raised by Joseph S. Nye in the Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power published in 1990, who is the dean of the Harvard Kennedy School and the ex-assistant secretary of the US Department of Defense. In the Soft Power: The Means To Success in World Politics published in 2004, he gave a further exposition to soft power, which has made marked effect on the current international relationship studies. Joseph S. Nye holds that the comprehensive national power contains not only the hard power in the economic, technology and military, but also the soft power on the basic of culture, values and other attractions. Based on the above, we can summarize the definition of soft power: it is the power that may attract others, instead of forcing to realize the purpose, which mainly contains the appeal of culture and the foreign policy, the ideology and the political value. During those, the cultural attraction is the essence power and the profound origin. American scholar John. P. Lovell said, "we all grow up in the culture atmosphere, and are bred in the fundamental value, the custom and believe. Those who master the political power in a society are easiest to be influenced by the social culture, whose behaviors and attitude have numerous cultural origins. Besides, in each national country, the govern and the setting of foreign policy are both under a culture." American cultural anthropology scholar Leslie. White also agreed that it was the special cultural psychology or ideology to determine the character of a national country, instead of the external structure of the race.

Since city came about, each field of human life has shown the high developing tendency. It is the city culture that accelerates the urbanization and the modernization, and becomes an important element of a city. To a country, culture is the soul of a nation; while to a city, the soul is its special culture, for it can improve the lives and provide spiritual power for the construction and development of a city. The traditional city which has played important role in the Information Age, will be at a disadvantage in the new competition, if it cannot adapt itself to the change of the technological revolution and the challenge of the times, cannot gather the strength of culture to push forward the development of the city. Nevertheless many cities that was unknown before, may grasp the opportunity to make a correct development orientation. So they can develop rapidly and become the main forces during the new word pattern.

For the above we need draw lessons from the concept of "soft power of national culture", and construct the concept of "soft power of city culture". The soft power of a city mainly covers the capacity to promote its social and economic purposes to be achieved, by giving full scope to the ability of citizens' mind. To make it, we should not only uplift the citizens' morale, and display their talents, but also need attract talents, funds and technology. Contrary to hard power such as infrastructure, the soft power of city culture is on the basis of city culture, spirit, environment, government public service, human quality and other immaterial elements. It is the summation the appeal of the city's innermost value, the appeal of city's spirit, the innovation power of citizens, the integration force of policy, and the cultural radiation. Without the improvement of the soft power of culture correspondingly, hard power will be limited by opinion and consciousness when it develops to a certain degree, even lead to the alienation of excellent culture, or the cultural conflict. That is because the hard power will lose necessary support without its cultural inclusiveness and appeal. Based on this viewpoint, the effect that the soft power of city culture has played in the modern city construction is more and more important. The soft power of city culture can attract other districts' elements of production and consumption, and promote the coordination during the social economy system. …

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