Soft Power at Home and Abroad: Sport Diplomacy, Politics and Peace-building

By: Scott Gates and Håvard Mokleiv Nygård

Published in:

International Area Studies Review, 16(3): 235-243.


Soft power is the power to persuade whereby one actor in a non-coercive manner convinces another to want the same things he/she wants. Sport can be used as tool of soft power both internationally and domestically. Peace-building and nation-building can be achieved through four mechanisms of sport diplomacy and politics: image-building; building a platform for dialogue; trust-building; and reconciliation, integration and anti-racism.These mechanisms are not deterministically controllable and can have unintended consequences. On the one hand, sporting events can be used as a means of building trust between adversaries. On the other, the hostilities between peoples can be mirrored on playing fields. This article examines the intended and unintended consequences of each mechanism. It also examines the role of confounding economic factors. Each article comprising this Special Issue explores a different mechanism of sport politics and public diplomacy.

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Published June 26, 2014 9:46 AM