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Study information

Soft Power and International Communications

Module titleSoft Power and International Communications
Module codeCMMM006
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Yanling Yang (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module explores concepts and approaches that are currently being used in the field of international relations to map, explore, and better understand the promotion of soft power. The module will enable you to critically evaluate major paradigms of soft power analysis used across the world. You will become familiar with the central theoretical, conceptual, methodological, and empirical dimensions of the field. The module lays the necessary conceptual, methodological, and substantive foundations for you to carry out your own independent research in the relevant field. There are no pre-requisites or co-requisites. This module is suitable for specialists, non-specialists and for interdisciplinary pathways. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to:

  • Develop an understanding of notions and concepts such as soft power.
  • Broaden your intellectual experience and deepen your critical understanding of your own disciplines.
  • Adopt an interdisciplinary approach and help you to develop a familiarity with different analytical tools and approaches.
  • Improve critical thinking and communication skills from a practical perspective using case studies.
  • Develop your ability to engage with and research an individual topic.
  • Develop your ability to respond appropriately to unfamiliar cultural practices.



Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of key theoretical notions and concepts in international relations as well as their relevance in multicultural contexts
  • 2. Demonstrate your intercultural competence through the analysis of data, policy analysis and case studies

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Summarise and evaluate, under guidance from the module tutor(s), key critical responses to the topic and apply standard critical approaches to the material
  • 4. Demonstrate familiarity with and ability to draw on a range of research literature to support an argument

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Assimilate, select, and organise material in order to produce, to a deadline, a written argument
  • 6. Conduct original research and write case studies that will have intellectual and practical value for approaching the chosen international markets.

Syllabus plan

This module is an introduction to understanding soft power in the International Relations and the module is broadly divided into three parts: the theory of International Relations; the concept and history of soft power; and case studies. Themes in the module may include but are not limited to: the strategy of soft power, evaluation of soft power from both quantitative and qualitative; the major trends and challenges with respect to international cultural relations in the current global order before, and following the Covid-19 global health crisis.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching2211 x 2-hour seminars
Guided independent study100Preparation for seminar and presentation
Guided independent study178Research and assignment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Research proposal 500 words1-2Written feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Research essay 805,0001-6Written feedback
Group presentation2020 minutes (4 mins per student)1-2Oral feedback in class

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Individual presentation4 minutes presentation or 1,000 words, 20% 1-2Deferral period
Research essay Research essay, 80%1-6Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.


Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic Reading:

Banks, R. (2011). A resource guide to public diplomacy evaluation. CPD perspectives on public diplomacy, 19.

Gallarotti, G. M. (2011). Soft power: what it is, why it’s important, and the conditions for its effective use. Journal of Political Power, 4(1), 25-47.

Hill, C., & Beadle, S. (2014). The art of attraction. Soft power and the UK’s role in the world. British Academy Report.

Kudryavtsev, A. A. (2014). A Systemic View of the Soft Power. EUI Working Paper RSCAS 2014/16., Available at SSRN: or

Nye Jr, J. S. (2020). Power and interdependence with China. The Washington Quarterly, 43(1), 7-21.

Nye, J. S. (2021). Soft power: the evolution of a concept. Journal of Political Power, 14(1), 196-208.

Key words search

Soft Power, Cultural Diplomacy, Cultural Foreign Policy, Transcultural Communication, International Relations

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date