11 December 2020, 14.00 - 17.00, via Zoom (Zoom-link to be announced soon)
Opponent: Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, School of
International Service, American University, USA

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.