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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details

Cao,Qing (2011). The Language of Soft Power: Mediating Socio-political Meanings in the Chinese Media. Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies 25(1): 7-24.

Author(s) from Durham


This article aims to examine the discursive structure of ‘soft power’ in China, its cultural, historical and political backgrounds and the role the mass media play in mediating its meanings. Conceptualised within critical discourse analysis, this study assesses soft power discourse as a form of articulating traditional values on the part of China's political and intellectual elites, as well as views about China's future directions. Specifically, it focuses on three levels of analysis: 1) a description of the language of ‘soft power’; 2) an interpretation of soft power as an institutional practice; and 3) an explanation of the broad socio-political dynamics that shape the discourse of soft power. The article concludes with an initial evaluation of the significance and implications of the soft power discourse.