11th December 2020 Stephanie Winkler succesfully defended her dissertation "Conceptual Politics in Practice: How Soft Power Changed the World" at the department of Economic History and International Relations. 

Opponent: Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, School of International Service, American University, USA

About the dissertation: How can we understand the role and consequences of concepts in international politics? Building on the emerging field of critical concept studies, this dissertation examines how actors coin, use, revisit and promote concepts in anticipation of performative effects. Examining such “conceptual politics” in practice, the dissertation advances an analysis of the “soft power” concept—the ability to affect others through attraction — in the context of the ongoing power shift between the USA, Japan and China. In addition, the study empirically traces how feedback loops, reification and travel shape the trajectory of soft power, and in so doing addresses how soft power has changed the world. 

Link to dissertation