Oct 19, 2009

Noopolitik and Soft Power

I thought that “the Promise of Noopolitik” by David Ronfeldt and John Arquilla gave a very interesting perspective on international communication. Noopolitik is an alternative to realpolitik or hard military power. Noopolitik is about how nation-states and non-state actors (Ronfeldt and Arquilla cite Al Qaeda as an example) are using soft or “ideational” power. This shift in the way we view power is indicative of the extent of which we live in an Information Age.

Furthermore, the authors argue that non-state actors like Al Qaeda are practicing noopolitik via the Internet and social media more effectively than states. This reminds of the discussion we had in class about “spinternet”- the ways in which governments are using the internet to “spin” their images. For example, we talked in class about how many governments are editing Wikipedia pages to appear more favorably.

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