Strategic narrative: A new means to understand soft power

Laura Roselle, Alister Miskimmon, Ben O'Loughlin

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Soft power in its current, widely understood form has become a straitjacket for those trying to understand power and communication in international affairs. Analyses of soft power overwhelmingly focus on soft power ‘assets’ or capabilities and how to wield them, not how influence does or does not take place. It has become a catch-all term that has lost explanatory power, just as hard power once did. The authors argue that the concept of strategic narrative gives us intellectual purchase on the complexities of international politics today, especially in regard to how influence works in a new media environment. They believe that the study of media and war would benefit from more attention being paid to strategic narratives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-84
Number of pages14
JournalMedia, War & Conflict
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014


  • Communication power
  • influence
  • narrative
  • power
  • soft power
  • strategic narrative

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