S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) Journal of International and Area Studies Journal of International and Area Studies vol.25 (2018)
An Overdue Critical Look at Soft Power Measurement: The Construct Validity of the Soft Power 30 in Focus
- Yun, Seong-Hun
- Issue Date
- Institute of International Affairs, Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University
- Journal of International and Area Studies, Vol.25 No.2, pp. 1-19
- In the vast scholarship on soft power, researchers continue to disagree about the measurement of soft power and soft power resources. There is also a neglect of the issue of construct validity. Calling attention to the unsettled state of measurement affairs, this study brings to light the literature’s twofold disagreement: the first over the operational definitions of soft power and the second over whether indicators are of soft power resources or not. This study then goes further to assess the Soft Power 30 project, an exemplar index of soft power resources as recognized by Nye, as a showcase for assessing construct validity. Results show the project is problematic in two ways—it confuses the distinction between means of soft power and outcomes of soft power, and it overlooks the military as an essential dimension of soft power resources. This study concludes by proposing ways to render the index not only more valid for measurement but also more fruitful for substantial theory building, followed by a call for future research to address disagreements over the operational definitions of soft power.
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