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Whenever the word “power” is uttered in the context of international relations, notions such as force or payoff immediately come to mind. These, put together, connote the idea of hard power as this involves leveraging hard resources and capabilities to reach desired outcomes when dealing with the other countries of the world. Soft power, also known as the second and third face of power, however, refers to a country’s use of attractions to achieve certain positive diplomatic results without ‘twisting the arms of others’. Several resources could be used as soft power, including a nation’s tangible and intangible cultural assets. Based on a theoretical framework built up from existing literature on power and soft power, and the author’s experiences in the performing arts for more than 40 years now and observations of the functioning of Mauritian diplomacy, this article reflects upon two potential soft power resources, namely, music and dance, two important intangible cultural expressions, thriving on the Mauritian soil for more than 180 years now, and attempts to elucidate how these art forms could be factored in as added value to Mauritian diplomacy for nation rebranding. Such a proven strategy, which has been adopted by other countries, has not had the required attention from Mauritian policy makers and technocrats so far. The author is convinced that a judicious utilization of music and dance in Mauritian international relations will contribute immensely to the country’s overall development, not only politically and economically, but also culturally. Keywords hard power, soft power resources, rebranding, international relations, music, dance, policy it afford to wield forces for its rights and advantages on the Introduction regional and international fronts. This is due to the fact that Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world there is an asymmetrical power relation between this country unbearable. and the bigger countries of the world (the United Kingdom, the United States, India, China, and the likes). Hence, its for- eign policy, which is geared more toward attracting and —George Bernard Shaw acquiring the support of other countries, is based and imple- mented through, primarily, a blend of the instruments of eco- It is an undeniable fact that the application of power is an nomic and commercial incentives, which Mead (2004, as important exercise in International Relations. Power can be quoted in Melissen, 2005) calls “sticky power,” including defined as the capacity to influence the behaviours of others to business facilitation services, tax exemption, and support to obtain the outcomes one wants (Lukes, 2005). In the words of other vulnerable nations. Samuel Joseph Nye Jr., the former Dean of Harvard’s Kennedy The author is convinced and argues that, in addition to School of Government, power can be exercised in three ways, these economic and commercial attractions, the country could namely, (a) by using, or at least threatening to use, military very well leverage its main cultural assets and capabilities force, sanctions, or embargos (sticks); (b) by providing eco- such as music and dance, in all their systems, styles, forms, nomic and/or commercial incentives, or making payments and genres, to influence the outcomes of its foreign politics. (carrots); and/or (c) by using “soft power” to make things hap- Hence, together with its “carrots” approach, Mauritius can pen and “to get others to want what you want.” Given its size and other limitations, and friendly relations and nonalignment position, or rather its “multi-alignment” Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Moka, Mauritius with most of the countries of the world, especially the super Corresponding Author: powers, the Republic of Mauritius has never felt the need to Santosh Kumar Pudaruth, Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Moka, Mauritius. have an army with a view to demonstrating its power, nor can Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Creative Commons CC BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage). 2 SAGE Open wield its soft power as another influential strategy to further whether the projection of soft power actually produces the consolidate its position in its international relations and make desired results” (Qingguo, 2010, pp. 1-2). a long-lasting imprint on the psyche of other nations for the The main purpose of this article is to shed light on one of benefit of one and all. Up to now, in Mauritius, music and the most important civil society’s contributions to further dance performances put up on various official occasions at develop and enhance the Mauritian diplomacy. And this national level to welcome dignitaries from around the world refers to the artistic talents and aptitudes and cultural rich- or to project the country’s image overseas have been consid- ness of the people, which, if fully tapped and supported by ered as optional “adjunct to inter-state relations” (Melissen, the State, have the potential to become important soft power 2005, p. 22), or frills placed on the periphery of mainstream resources and capabilities of this country. This is a sphere of international relations meets based on the “hierarchical” activities in the diplomatic domain, which has caught, if at model (Hocking in Melissen, 2005, p. 29) such as confer- all, very little attention of our country’s policy makers and ences, trade fairs, talks, and official visits. Very little atten- technocrats so far. tion, if at all, is paid by policy makers to leverage music and The present author, thus, puts forth the following questions: dance as soft power resources and capabilities in their own right. Several reasons account for such an unhappy situation Research Question 1: What are the soft power resources and the most important ones are as follows: and capabilities as far as music and dance are concerned in Mauritius? i. Absence of a national cultural policy, thus no clear- Research Question 2: Who are the main stakeholders? cut policies with regard to culture, in general, and Research Question 3: What could be done in the short, music and dance as soft power resources and capa- medium, and long term to leverage music and dance as bilities, in particular. efficient soft power national resources and capabilities? ii. Lack of infrastructural, logistic, technical and finan- cial support to leverage music and dance as soft Importance of the Inquiry power resources and capabilities. iii. Blurred messages as regards the projection of the cul- The plausible answers and proposals put forth in this article tural identity of the people of Mauritius. are significant ones, for they will inform not only musicians and dancers but also policy makers, diplomats, and high Suffice it to say that any head of state, or any high official office-bearers in the fields of arts and culture, and foreign from overseas, or any one from the global publics is inter- affairs, of the importance of using the country’s “soft” ested to know what the culture of the people of Mauritius is, resources and the people’s creative ideas to help facilitate to what extent her or his own culture, if any, has been pre- and enhance diplomatic relations, choices, and outcomes. served and propagated in the host country, and, above all, Moreover, this submission can trigger interest among other what originality the people, as a nation, can project to the researchers to embark on further studies on soft power and whole world. This is an important diplomatic sell, for it has diplomacy in Mauritius. the potential to project the greatness, respectability, credi- bility, noble intent, values, and maturity of the nation, at Academic Review large. Diplomacy is one of the most important instruments used by a nation-state through its officials based at home and over- Focus and Purpose of Inquiry and seas for conducting its relations and communicating with Inquiry Questions other sovereign states (Berridge, 2010; Makhan, 2004 ). As mentioned above, soft power can be understood as the Diplomacy in international relations is a major factor of “soft” resources and capabilities a country uses in its diplo- power. Through diplomacy, nation-states are able to secure macy. The focus of this article is on soft power as resources the objectives of their foreign policies without military force and utilization capabilities, and not their outcomes and (Berridge, 2010). Diplomacy can be of two types: high visi- impact (effectiveness), and the soft power resources under bility and discreet diplomacy (Makhan, 2004). Today, due to discussion are music and dance, in all their hues and textures. the complex and varying nature of international environ- In a bid to bring some more definitional and conceptual clari- ment, the concept of public diplomacy is being given a fresh fications to this discussion, Qingguo (2010) is quoted as stat- look and, thus, redefined for the following reasons: (a) ing that soft power resources refer to a country’s quantity and increasing need for more public involvement in diplomacy; quality of “culture, education, governance, values, ideas, and hence, the civil society is acting more as a generator, rather visions” it can make use of to attract others (pp. 1-2). Its than a bystander or target, of diplomatic activities. Hague capabilities denote its “ability to translate (those) soft power (2013) argues that “(F)oreign policy today is no longer the resources into actual soft power.” Soft power effectiveness, preserve of governments. There is now a mass of connec- however, refers to the “actual impact of soft power, that is, tions between individuals, civil society, businesses, pressure Pudaruth 3 groups and charitable organizations which are also part of Radical View, and his second edition of 2005 as (a) Power the relations between nations” (p. 2); (b) globalization and its Through Decision Making, (b) Power Through Agenda- resulting increase in global social relations and networks, setting, and (c) Power Through Domination or Preference- thus influencing the way people view their place in the local Setting or Belief-Shaping. and global environments and urging them to solicit a conver- gence of domestic and foreign policy agendas; (c) rapid Power Through Decision Making development in information and communication technology (ICT); (d) growth of electronic media more of a partner In this dimension, power of one actor or group is exerted rather than a tool in foreign policy strategies, for example, openly over others in policy debates. In this power struggle private radios and television (TV) channels acting as agenda- scheme of things, the interests and desires of each actor and setter; and (e) growing need to enhance a country’s image to their preferences together with the conflict that may ensue in boost up its exports, attract foreign investments, and project decision making are brought to light and are subject to analy- itself as the most attractive tourist destination (Hocking in sis. Obviously, the actor having the better argumentation and Melissen, 2005). stronger influence will rule the roost. Whosoever gets her or Such an enhanced role of public diplomacy has paved the his way has power. This is the pluralists’ approach to power. way for other modes of “powers,” some of which can be termed as soft, sticky, or smart power, which could be more Power Through Agenda-Setting attractive than hard, or military, power, to make their entry in the realm of general diplomacy. Through the use of soft This second way of exerting power, unlike the first one, lies power, which can be in the form of activities involving, but in non-decision-making through manipulation of policy not restricted to, arts and culture for nation-branding pur- agenda or by controlling the agenda of a debate. In other pose, a country can encourage other countries to want what it words, a powerful actor/actors can prevent certain issues wants. from being taken up for debate because of conflicting inter- ests and decisions already made thereof. In the field of diplo- macy, one can say that those actors have the means and Nation-Brand and Nation-Branding resources to prevent actions in foreign affairs that would be Due to the fact that soft power is closely linked to both nation- detrimental to their interests and to press forward those that brand and nation-branding, it is worth mentioning, in passing, would be beneficial to them. There is bound to have open that there is a distinction between these two concepts. Quoting confrontation in discussion when the weaker group/s, thus, Anholt (2006), Fan (2008) makes it clear that nation-brand is cannot have their important issues taken up for debate. Here, the sum total of the perceptions other countries have with there is tight control over the agenda by the powerful actor or regard to the image of one’s country (i.e., the “what”), which group, hence, restricting the decision making as well. might be strong or weak, attractive or dull, whereas nation- branding refers to the conscious and perpetual effort (i.e., the Power Through Domination or Preference-Setting “how”) of a country, as a whole, namely, government, indi- or Belief-Shaping viduals, and civil society, to create and project its image to the international audience (p. 19). The new public diplomacy is In this third dimension of power, the more powerful actor/s very much concerned with nation-branding. or group/s can go to the extent of shaping the wishes, prefer- ences, and interests of others. More often than not, the subju- gated are made to accept views that are not really to their Steven Lukes’ Theory of Three Faces of Power or advantages, but the powerful groups can go to the extent of “Three-dimensional” Understanding of Power “shaping their perceptions, cognitions and preferences in To make a case for leveraging music and dance in strength- such a way that they accept their role in the existing order of ening and enhancing Mauritian cultural diplomacy, the things” (Lukes, 2005, p. 28). In this power exertion model, author has based his reflections on, inter alia, Steven Lukes’ open conflict ensues when knowledge of the real interests of theory of Three Faces of Power to argue that power is not the more powerful groups dawns upon the oppressed and unidimensional in nature and Joseph Nye’s concept of Soft when there is realization of how they were made to divert Power together with literature and scholarly views on soft from their real interests through previously exerted power. power resources and capabilities. The conceptual framework This third face of power is known as Lukes’ radical view of embraces soft power, music and dance, and new public power. diplomacy. From the above-stated three faces of power came into To facilitate understanding of the multidimensional aspect existence the distinction between hard and soft power. As of power, let us, first of all, brush over Lukes’ three faces of stated earlier, hard power refers to military action or eco- power put forth in the context of domestic national power nomic coercion like embargos and sanctions to obtain what and policy debate in 1974 in his book, titled Power: A one wants, whereas soft power denotes the use of attractions 4 SAGE Open to make others want what one wants either of their own Confucius and Lao Tse, had both talked about the merits of accord, or without them even knowing. Lukes’ second and virtue (soft power) over force to win the allegiance of people. third faces of power, namely, agenda-setting and preference- Ancient and modern Indian literature on politics is replete setting, respectively, are more applicable with a view to with examples of the superiority of soft power in public wielding soft power. affairs dealings. Chanakya’s conception of “samman” In the same line of thoughts, one can say that to initiate (respect) and “dana” (gift) clearly points at the importance of actions in foreign affairs, there is need for foreign policies, soft power in ancient Indian politics. The Upanishads have, and foreign policy actions are carried out through foreign unequivocally, taught that the whole world is my family policy instruments, which are different modes of exercising (Vasudaiva kutumbakam). power. The different foreign policy instruments could be Having said this, it is equally important to remember that divided into two broad categories, namely, military and non- the effect of soft power may not be in the form of an immedi- military (Baldwin, 2000). Military implies twisting the arms ate, specific, and observable action occurring at a given time of others, whereas nonmilitary could include such instru- and place, but rather a diffused one spread over time, which ments like economic sanctions, public diplomacy, cultural can be cashed in on in the future (Nye, 2004b). diplomacy, propaganda, nation-branding, and financial or Conversely, disbelievers of soft power argue that popular- commercial incentives (Melissen, 2005), among others. ity and attraction are ephemeral and should not have their By coining and using the phrase “soft power” in his book, place in a country’s diplomatic exercises. Womack (2005) titled Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, also argues that attractiveness and its judgment are often sub- some 25 years ago, Nye is, more than ever before, convinced jective and debatable on the political front. There are cer- that attraction and persuasion, or the ability to attract and co- tainly opposing views as regards for example, the opt, rather than coerce or force, are the alternative strategies attractiveness of an artiste and her or his music that a country to guide foreign policies and their implementation in today’s might be proud of; some may view this as corrupting, others, world. He further states that the soft power can be not only a enriching. Wang (2006) believes that soft power produced by complement to hard power but also a powerful substitute. different actors of a country can have varying effects on dif- Nye believes that the attractiveness of a country can be as ferent groups of the receiving country. Gray (2011) argues important as, if not more important than, guns and money, that soft power relies too much on the receiving country’s and/or economic and commercial incentives in its effort to perception, thus not appropriate for foreign policy direction. induce voluntary international acquiescence. According to Others maintain that soft power is nothing but a shadow of his theory, power lies along the continuum comprising hard power, “the gleam on the sword” (Womack, 2005, p. 3). Command–Coercion–Inducement–Agenda-Setting– George W. Bush’s oft-cited “soft” phrase, “(Y)ou are either Attraction–Co-Optive Power. Hard power is on the Command with us or with the terrorists” is no less an expression of hard side, whereas soft power is on the Co-Optive side. power. For many American and Indian skeptics, threat of ter- It is worth noting that Nye (2005b) mentioned three rorism, for instance, cannot be tackled with the instrument of sources of power in the United States, namely, “the attrac- soft power. The use of hard power is the one and only means tiveness of its culture, the appeal of its domestic political and through which one can obtain what one wants. In this regard, social values, and the style and substance of its foreign poli- it is not surprising that even Nye (2005a, 2005b), himself, cies” (p. 9). Out of these three sources, the third, that is, U.S. admits the ineffectiveness of soft power at some point in foreign policies, is not different from its hard power, for its time. He states that if soft power cannot influence policy- main policies comprise mainly military intervention and eco- making, it can at least influence the “environment for nomic sanction. However, its values are nothing but its cul- policy.” ture. As a result, we can say with much certainty that soft power of the United States is its culture and its diverse China’s Soft Power expressions. As Fan (2008) succinctly puts it, “soft power is cultural power” (p. 4). But it is important to note that cultural For the past decade, China has been investing billions of dol- resources are not soft power by themselves. They have to be lars in building up its soft power arsenal. The opening of worked upon for conversion into soft power (Fan, 2008). some 300 Confucius Institutes all over the world, on the Therefore, a country rich in culture may be poor in soft same line as that of Alliance Française and the British power and vice versa. Thus, a country must have the capac- Council, to promote Chinese language and culture, the open- ity, resources, ability, and means to convert its cultural ing up and the slow but sure worldwide spread of the Shaolin resources into its soft power. Kung fu, the elaborate holding of the Beijing Olympics in Prior to Nye, the concept of soft power was hinted at by 2008, and the Shanghai World Expo in 2010, among others, such writers as E. H. Carr (1964), Hans J. Morgenthau have been some of the laudable efforts put in by China to (1967), Klaus Knorr (1956, 1973), and Ray S. Cline (1975, increase its soft power. But, given its domestic “hard” crack- cited in Fan, 2008). Even in ancient times, soft power was ing down on civilians, artists, lawyers, and activists uphold- more favored than hard power. The Chinese philosophers, ing and fighting for human rights, not many countries are Pudaruth 5 convinced of the sincerity of its purpose, thus undermining and receiving high-level official visits and signing of its own credibility in the eyes of international audiences. Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) and Agreements, among others. Notwithstanding its proactive engagement in the above- India’s Soft Power stated areas of diplomacy, Mauritius’ real GDP growth rate Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s never-ending offi- finds it difficult to cross the 3.7%, as in July 2016, exports cial visits to more than 25 countries since his Bharatiya decreased from 6,819 MUR million in March 2016 to 6,364 Janata Party (BJP) party came to power in 2014 is a clear-cut MUR million in April 2016 and foreign direct investment indication of today’s India’s effort to leverage its soft power (FDI) fell from 20,373 MUR million to a low 7,214 MUR to its optimal level. India’s soft power can be discerned by million in 2015 (Statistics Mauritius). Added to these, the most of the countries of the South-East Asia, besides its dias- recent hue and cry and uncertainties in respect of (a) the pora like Mauritius, Fiji, Guyana, Malaysia, Surinam, South changes India brought to the Double Taxation Avoidance Africa, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad, due to their shared values, Agreements (DTAA) to check treaty abuse, round-tripping heritage, culture, and civilizational links (Purushothaman, of funds, double nontaxation on capital gains, and revenue 2010). For India, culture is the main source of soft power, for loss for both the countries; (b) Brexit—Britain leaving the no one can deny the contribution of India’s yoga, Ayurveda, EU; and (c) the geopolitical dynamics as regards the termina- Indian cuisine, Bollywood movies, spirituality, and classical tion of the British lease on the Chagos Archipelago and the music and dance in enhancing its global image. ceding or not of the Sovereignty of Tromelin to Mauritius by France are sufficient reasons to review and further consoli- date its diplomacy through a thorough democratization pro- Mauritian Diplomacy: Now and cess whereby foreign relationships between countries are, Hereafter henceforth, made to be based not only on relationships between heads of states and officials but also on those As mentioned above, Mauritius’ primary foreign policy between the peoples. In such a scenario, a country’s culture instrument with regard to other nation-states is its diplomacy, could be used to reach out to the international audiences with which is, primarily, economic and commercial, political, a view to enhancing and projecting a more positive image. and, to some extent, cultural, especially with India and China. It is noteworthy that the small size of Mauritius, its remoteness, and lack of natural resources have compelled it Lukes’ Three Faces of Power and Bourdieu’s to be perpetually aware of what goes on at the regional and Symbolic Power in Mauritian Diplomacy international levels and position itself in the limelight of international debates. Such a stance is crucial to enable it to Strictly speaking, neither of the three faces of power men- put forth and integrate its agenda into that of the assembly of tioned earlier has been used in Mauritian diplomacy. The sovereign states and thus make them listen to its needs and country has never won over others because of superior aspirations as a high middle-income Small Island Developing resources or force, nor has it changed, controlled, or manipu- State (SIDS) (Makhan, 2004). lated the agenda in international debates, nor has it shaped Mauritius’ economic and commercial diplomacy operates the preferences and wishes of others, at least, not in a radical through and consists mainly of its bilateral and multilateral manner. For example, the changing of DTAA by India, the relations and economic and commercial ties with such main resistance of Britain to cede the sovereignty of the Chagos intergovernmental bodies as Brazil, Russia, India, China, Archipelago to Mauritius, and the French refusal to sit at the and South Africa (BRICS), the European Union (EU), the negotiating table as regards the sovereignty of Tromelin World Trade Organization (WTO), the Southern African Island, among others, have not triggered the necessity for Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Mauritius to use any of these powers, at face value, in inter- Eastern and South Africa (COMESA), the Commonwealth, national fora. A closer analysis of the third face or dimension Francophonie, and the United Nations (UN). This country of power, as Lukes (2005) has mentioned, however, reveals has trading partners for both imports and exports of products that there are different types of power, or rather “power over” throughout the world; hence, consolidating and maintaining within it and “not all of which are zero sum and negative in a sound economic and commercial diplomacy is crucial. their effects on subordinates” (Swartz, 2007, p. 3). Lukes The political diplomacy of Mauritius is geared, but not (2005) mentioned in this regard that “power over others can restricted, toward the following methods: election and be productive, transformative, authoritative and compatible appointment of its nationals to high-level positions in with dignity, . . .” (p. 109). In the same vein, Swartz (2007) regional and international organizations (Makhan, 2004); mentioned “power not only represses but also creates new hosting of high-level regional and international events, for significant effects” (p. 2). Impressed by Michel Foucault’s example, summits and conferences; defense of its sover- later writings and reinterpretation of power and their effects eignty and territorial integrity, for example, its claims on the on the scholars of his time, Lukes is convinced that Foucault Chagos Archipelago and Tromelin Island; and undertaking has exercised an “interesting kind of power”—the “power of 6 SAGE Open seduction” (Lukes, 2005). This could be an interesting hint at cultural links that bind those countries and perpetually yet another kind of power. Likewise, Lukes falls back on remaining at the receiving end for donations, loans, and Pierre Bourdieu to explain his third dimension of power and grants do not suffice to produce the required results. Such a thus his new definition of power as domination (Swartz, strategy has started showing some signs of breathlessness. 2007). The way India changed the DTAA, the resistance of Britain Bourdieu’s (1986) conception of symbolic power, how- to cede the sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago to ever, if applied to the country as a whole, is interesting for Mauritius, China’s possible relinquishment of the Jinfei the purpose of explaining, to some extent, the type of soft Project (Wan, 2015), and the French refusal to sit at the nego- power that Mauritius can leverage in its diplomacy, espe- tiating table as regards the sovereignty of Tromelin Island cially its cultural diplomacy. In simple terms, one can state add substance to this argument. There is need to further that Mauritius could wield symbolic power over other nation- enhance the image of the country and build its soft power states by virtue of its rich cultural resources, including music capacity for it to command greater respect in the interna- and dance, its symbolic cultural capital of reputation of being tional arena and, thus, increase mutual benefits between a model of unity-in-diversity, and a model of peaceful co- countries. existence in the whole world, on the one hand, and of having the possibility of converting its economic capital into cul- Cultural Diplomacy Focused on Music and Dance tural capital by setting up cultural institutions, on the other. Resources Having acquired such a reputation and a kind of authority in this field, it has the potential to become a “dominant” nation- Cultural diplomacy has the potential to create a unique state, without actually taking recourse to any direct acts of atmosphere of openness, often through a shared experience of a cultural event. (Cynthia Schneider, Best Practice) domination. The “dominated” nation-states, however, do not possess the same kinds of cultural capital and symbolic cul- Before discussing any further music and dance as potential tural power to remain neutral to the cultural charms of assets and sources of “soft” power for Mauritius, let us Mauritius (Cronin, 1996, p. 70). In such a scenario, the state briefly brush over the reasons, in line with Nye’s, why this has a crucial role to play, for it becomes the locus and guar- country stands a good chance of gaining from “wielding” its antor of this symbolic cultural power and its diverse sources soft power: (a) It is a multicultural, multilingual, and multi- and manifestations. ethnic country fostering pluralism, liberalism, cooperation, freedom, and equity, thus in line with global norms; (b) it has Need for a Nation Rebranding: Cultural access to different channels of communication; and (c) its Diplomacy domestic and international positive performances are taken The cultural diplomacy of Mauritius is yet to reach its opti- as model by many, especially the African countries. mal level to enhance and consolidate its image to the interna- As the focus of this article is on music and dance as tional audiences and foster mutual understandings through sources of soft power, the following are some of the reasons exchange of ideas, information, arts, and culture among why these art forms are rated high on the scale of cultural nations. Suffice it to say that the country does weave cultural diplomacy: first, they are inherently expressive in nature and relations, though timidly, with countries such as India and thus appropriate means of communicating the “unspoken”; China and those in the commonwealth with which it has his- second, they thrive on human emotions and affect the latter torical links. The setting up and running of embassies and positively to a considerable extent; third, they have the cultural institutions (Indira Gandhi Centre for Cultural capacity to trigger prompt intellectual and emotional reac- Relations, Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Rabindranath Tagore tions, thus producing immediate, desired outcomes; fourth, Institute, China Cultural Centre, receiving of scholarships, in the event they project and promote values that most people introduction of visa-free regime (up to 60 days) for Indian can identify with, they become important attractions and can tourists visiting Mauritius and “gratis E-Tourist Visa” for have universal reach and appeal; and finally, they are prod- Mauritian nationals visiting India, possibility of inclusion of ucts of the creativity and talents of private individuals and Mauritius in the 21st-century new Maritime Silk Road, and civil societies, hence, diverse in form and content, and thus hosting of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) more effective in generating trust among peoples and better Chairs are some of the outcomes of the cultural ties Mauritius influencing diplomatic choices and outcomes. Purushothaman has with those countries (Indian High Commission Website, (2010) rightly says, “(T)he power of music can bridge bor- Embassy of the People’s Republic of China Website & ders and bring people closer” (p. 5). Anchraz, 2008). Mauritius, a multicultural and a “multi-musical” country, The most pertinent question that requires more attention has a lot to offer to the world in terms of its cultural diversity with regard to cultural diplomacy of Mauritius is how and capitals. The different cultures thriving on the Mauritian Mauritius uses its cultural assets to produce soft power and soil have rich cultural and artistic heritages, including tangi- reap the benefits thereof. Harping on the historical and ble as well as intangible ones. The tangible heritage Pudaruth 7 comprises historical sites, monuments, gardens, paintings, sculptures, crafts, artifacts, archival materials, and books, among others. Intangibles include, inter alia, music, dance, drama, languages, literature, poems, rituals, cultural prac- tices, cultural and social knowledge and skills, customs, and traditions. Different systems of music and dance, namely, Indian, Western, African, Chinese, and Sega have long been flour- ishing on the Mauritian soil now. Their close encounter and interface have given rise to cultural and musical dialogues and sharing among them; thus came into being a specific genre of “free” music and dance, which fuses some of their common elements. These diverse art forms are performed, appreciated, enjoyed, practiced, shared, and taught and Figure 1. Constituents of a country’s global image. Source. Ernst and Young (2012), Rapid-Growth Markets Soft Power Index. learned by the population and are used, primarily, as means for enhancing self-expression, reaffirming identities, sustain- ing community involvement, maintaining social cohesion, fostering social and communal integration, arousing reli- gious and spiritual sentiments, besides being means of enter- tainment, relaxation, and recreation. These art forms are also Indian Music & Dance potential sources of “soft power,” though still unexplored yet. The Chinese writer Shan Sa rightly says in this regard, “Culture is not only a form of entertainment, but also an eco- nomic asset, and a political asset.” Mul cultural Chinese The soft power variables as stated by Ernst & Young in its Composite Music and Music and Rapid-Growth Markets Soft Power Index, Spring 2012, Dance Music and Dance clearly point out to music and dance as a constituent to build- Dance So ing up a country’s Global Image (Figure 1). Power resources Based on his close interaction with the aforesaid systems of music and dance, and the data gained from his observation over the years, as a teacher, performer, and researcher, the author submits that in Mauritius the quality of music and African Western dance performances, irrespective of cultures and systems Music and Music and they belong to, has improved considerably since the 1960s. Dance Dance New institutions dispensing courses in music and dance have seen the light of day, and various programs of studies in dif- ferent systems of music and dance are offered at secondary Figure 2. Five main systems of music and dance. and tertiary levels. Today, many more people are showing interest not only in perpetuating these different art forms but also to know more about and professionalizing them. descendants could draw and perpetuate from within their col- Although music and dance concerts, involving any one or lective memory in addition to local musical influences, espe- more genres of music and dance, are put up on a regular basis cially Indian and Western. throughout the year to mark historical, social, and religious As a general remark, one can say that there is a clear indi- events, there is still a long way to go to make them sources of cation on the ground, from the number of music and dance soft power. shows put up at national level every year, local cultural pro- The five main systemsof music and dance developed and grams produced and aired on radio and TV, and the number practiced by the progenies of immigrants coming from India, of compact discs (CDs) produced that the Mauritian per- China, Europe, and Africa to Mauritius are represented in the formers and “culturati,” irrespective of any cultural groups, diagram below (Figure 2). are striving hard to make their music and dance art forms In each of these systems, there is a plethora of genres, more remarkable, marketable, viable, and worthy of appre- forms, and styles. In some of these systems, for example, ciation by not only the locals but also tourists visiting the Indian and Western, the music and dance vary from pure country. There should, therefore, be no compromise on the classical, semiclassical, to light and folk forms. The Mauritian part of all stakeholders with regard to inputs, quality, and Sega music and dance have evolved from remnants of what- accessibility insofar as their creations and performances are ever African music and dance the African slaves and their concerned. There is no doubt that their past achievements 8 SAGE Open would act as incentives to be more proactive, innovative, and the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Fund to support creative in their approaches and undertakings. artistes and performers financially in projecting and enhanc- Mauritius could leverage cultural diplomacy taking ing the image of the country overseas. recourse to a “people-to-people approach” with regard to Reckoned as an African country, Mauritius has a lot to countries where diplomatic relations are strained in respect gain if it does not restrict its national interest to its physical of certain important issues, for example, Great Britain boundaries. Its close association with the regional countries (Chagos Archipelago issue), France (Tromelin issue), and and their cultural actors is of utmost importance. It is high India (DTAA issue). Cultural exchanges involving music and time to further strengthen relations among African countries dance between peoples of Mauritius and those of any of through, for instance, the organization of an All-African these countries should be encouraged, as such initiatives Music and Dance Competitions and Pan-African Music and engender neutral and mutually accepted platforms for trans- Dance Festivals via SADC and COMESA that could bring to mission of ideas. Such an initiative could have a significant the forefront the exceptional talents of those countries and impact on the general populace and high-ranking members consolidate further the bond and camaraderie that exist of these societies, who could, in turn, advise their policy among those countries. makers and decision takers with a view to establishing more Mauritius can also leverage its cultural diplomacy to cooperation and reconcilable approaches as regards foreign acquire soft power via ICT. Nye (2004a) points out that “. . . relations and issues at stake. In this regard, Nye (2004a) power in the information age will come not only from strong points out that these governments then “cannot remain totally defenses but also from strong sharing” (p. 261). He also adds indifferent to the views of the people” (p. 4). This is the crux that “. . . such sharing not only enhances the ability of others of the working of soft power. Activities targeted toward spe- to cooperate with us but also increases their inclination to do cific audiences for this purpose in the host countries will so.” Academic and cultural activities related to music and comprise music and dance festivals, and staging of dance- dance depicting the cultural identity of Mauritius should be ballets, chorales, and other forms of multicultural music and exported via the Internet and social networking services dance ensembles to address issues pertaining to the vulnera- (SNS) like Facebook and Twitter with a view to establishing bility and economic frailties of SIDS such as Mauritius, connections between peoples around the world and project- women empowerment, drug prevention, social inclusion, ing the country’s cultures, cultural values, and cultural diver- and protection of environment, among others, and to praise sity. Mutual sharing of those pieces of information will go a and promote human rights, justice, and world peace. long way in establishing more positive foreign relations. Highly official overseas state visits must include Mauritian multicultural music and dance to project Mauritian society The Roles and Capabilities of the Main and its cultural mosaic around the world. State-sponsored Stakeholders interactive meets between artistes of Mauritius and perform- ers and general public of the other countries must be orga- The author has identified two categories of stakeholders, nized to foster transcultural dialogue, exchange, and namely, Inner and Outer Stakeholders. Inner stakeholders are understanding. Such cultural get-togethers could provide a those individuals who are directly engaged in the creation, neutral platform for mobility of ideas. production, “packaging,” distribution, and delivery of music It is an undeniable fact that cultural diplomacy is carried and dance products. Outer stakeholders are involved in the out by not only governmental bodies but also nongovern- consumption of the arts or in providing different kinds of mental organizations (NGOs) and private individuals. To support to the inner stakeholders in the form of facilities, help the latter succeed in this endeavour, the overt and covert patronage, sponsorship, donation, and the like for the presen- helping hands of the government as facilitator are vital. tation, preservation, promotion, and perpetuation of these art These can include state initiative in opening “Mauritian forms and for giving a boost to the development and profes- Cultural Council” in other countries; consolidating the cul- sionalization of their capabilities, hence, making a much tural wings of existing embassies and establishing new greater impact on others. embassies; setting up a “Fund-Raising Concerts Fund” to enable Mauritian artistes to come together to put up high- The inner stakeholders quality cultural programmes with a view to raising funds for Artistes or performers (musicians and dancers). Music and relieving people affected by natural calamities like earth- dance performers constitute the core of the performing arts quakes, floods, and cyclones, and for healing people having sector. The term artistes (with an “e”) refers to practicing experienced conflicts and wars in other countries; providing professionals in music or dance, rather than “hobbyists or facilities/pecuniary incentives for local and foreign perform- leisure-makers.” Professional performers have the knack to ers to participate in cultural meets in Mauritius and overseas; attract and please not only other professional musicians and encouraging the private sector through tax relief and other dancers and music and/or dance connoisseurs but also music incentives to sponsor performers for participation in cultural and/or dance lovers and the public, in general. Thus, they are activities; and encouraging the private sector to make use of important generators of attraction. Pudaruth 9 Included in this category are the service providers, such as in the world. What is being submitted hereunder are some light and sound engineers and technicians, events managers/ new mandates those ministries could take on board to make suppliers of logistics, suppliers of sound equipment, suppli- of music and dance important resources in international rela- ers of light equipment, and suppliers of decorations and tions. These could be expressed in different ways, namely, props, among others. desire and will to formulate and implement a National Cul- tural Policy; efforts to set up institutions and put in place The outer stakeholders systems, mechanisms, and strategies geared toward the Educational and training institutions. Public and private edu- development of music and dance as soft power resources; cational and training institutions in music and dance have and determination to embark on the tedious but gratifying contributed and are still contributing immensely to capacity venture of building up unique and unifying Mauritian cul- building. However, formal programmes of studies at second- tural assets, especially its music and dance art forms worthy ary and tertiary levels focus more on acquisition of knowledge of calling “Mauritian.” and skills for producing connoisseurs, amateurs, and teachers. The Prime Minister’s Office could be responsible for, Scope for capacity building in the art of professional perfor- inter alia, setting up a National Centrefor Performing Arts mance, irrespective of educational background, age, genres, that would build up and manage a National Troupe aiming at styles, and forms, in any of the art forms, is yet to be explored. nurturing, preserving, promoting, and propagating a National Culture across the world. Sociocultural organizations. A great many sociocultural The Ministry of Arts and Culture could be responsible for, organizations in the country are funded directly by the gov- inter alia, providing support to artistes and other stakehold- ernment. Though the different communities/ethnic groups ers; developing audiences, local as well as overseas; consoli- turn to those organizations for consolidating identities, dating cultural identity and social cohesion; and organizing fostering social cohesion, and perpetuating certain cultural music and dance concerts and festivals locally and overseas. practices, beliefs, customs, and traditions, much is yet to be The Ministry of Education, Human Resources, Tertiary undertaken by them to give a helping hand in promoting the Education and Scientific Research could be responsible for, performing arts and develop audiences worldwide. inter alia, integrating issues, concerns, and matters pertaining to arts and culture in educational policies; consolidating and Civil society. The civil society comprises, primarily, the promoting music and dance education at preprimary, pri- Mauritian families, the NGOs, professional bodies or forums, mary, secondary and tertiary levels; ensuring quality educa- artistes’ societies and unions, researchers and academia, stu- tion and training in the arts and specialized high-quality dents and youth, and, above all, the consumers of arts and training for artistes and other technical and administrative culture. Stakeholders in this category have a crucial role to workers; and fostering Research and Development (R&D) in play to persuade the government to, first and foremost, take the fields of soft power and music and dance. the much-awaited decision to formulate and implement a The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development multisectoral National Cultural Policy at the earliest. Such could be responsible for, inter alia, integrating issues, con- an endeavor should not be based on a unidirectional com- cerns, and matters pertaining to arts and culture in national munication, as is the case presently in respect of the scanty budgets and economic development policies; providing cultural principles in use. funding, subsidies, grants, concessions, and exemptions; set- ting up new funding structures for cultural workers; and fos- The private sector. Individuals and enterprises that form tering public–private partnerships (PPP) in the arts and part of this category operate in non–music and dance envi- culture sector. ronments. However, they can provide their contribution in The Ministry of Tourism could be responsible for, inter terms of patronage, sponsorship, and donation for the devel- alia, integrating issues, concerns, and matters pertaining to opment and promotion of music and dance as soft power arts and culture in tourism policies, thus promoting cultural resources. Their actions are very often hesitant due to lack of tourism. clear public culture policies, strategies, and plans of actions. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration, Bigger conglomerates, which can be the benefactors and and International Trade could be responsible for, inter alia, patrons of music and dance and their performers, have been integrating issues, concerns, and matters pertaining to arts contributing rather timidly to the development of these art and culture in foreign affairs policies; promoting cultural forms. But we believe that those big corporates need to exports; strengthening the role of music and dance as “soft” embark on a revamping exercise of their own thinking and power to enhance external relations and politics; organizing actions with regard to the development of music and dance international cultural events and shows; and supporting and their economic and political potentials. regional and international mobility of artistes and cultural troupes. Ministries. The different ministries indicated below have, The Ministry of Youth and Sports could be responsible more or less, similar mandates, as those of other ministries for, inter alia, integrating issues, concerns, and matters 10 SAGE Open pertaining to arts and culture in youth and sports policies, Short-, Medium-, and Long-Term and organizing and promoting cultural activities for and by Proposals and Strategies (Max: 10 the youth. Years) The Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations, Employment This segment of the article focuses on some short-, medium-, and Training could be responsible for, inter alia, integrating and long-term proposals that all stakeholders could consider issues, concerns, and matters pertaining to arts and culture in with a view to revamping and reorienting their courses of labor and employment policies, thus strengthening artistes’ actions in respect of the country’s global image building and and other cultural workers’ conditions of employment, enhancement of its soft power leverage through, among oth- The Ministry of Local Government and Outer Islands ers, music and dance resources for fostering better and more could be responsible for, inter alia, integrating issues, con- successful international relations. cerns, and matters pertaining to arts and culture in local gov- ernment policies; facilitating organization and development of cultural activities and support by local councils and Short-Term Strategies municipalities; and putting up regional cultural and artistic I. Set up a National Centre for Performing Arts, the ventures. Vision and Mission of which should be geared toward The Ministry of Technology, Communication and revealing the multicultural and transcultural richness Innovation could be responsible for, inter alia, integrating of the country and speed up their complete realization issues, concerns, and matters pertaining to arts and culture in through high-level artistic and creative productions. ICT policies; providing technological inputs in the creation II. Set up a National Cultural Troupe, the official and and production of cultural products that have exportable leading performing arts foundation in the Republic of value; providing Internet connection and easy accessibility Mauritius, under the agency of the Prime Minister’s for managing and controlling online file sharing; and devis- Office, to nurture, preserve, promote, and propagate ing protective measures. Mauritian culture across the world. The Ministry of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms could be responsible for, inter alia, integrating issues, con- Objectives of the Troupe: cerns, and matters pertaining to arts and culture in civil ser- vice policies, facilitating professional artistes’ employability a. To foster excellence in the performing arts through in the public sector. training and creative action; The Ministry of Social Integration and Economic b. To discover and develop talents in the performing Empowerment could be responsible for, inter alia, integrat- arts; ing issues, concerns, and matters pertaining to arts and cul- c. To build up a repertoire of high-quality artistic pro- ture in economic empowerment policies, thus empowering ductions for national and international performances; artistes and other cultural workers. d. To ensure that productions are geared toward both The Attorney General’s Office could be responsible for, tradition and innovation; and inter alia, integrating issues, concerns, and matters pertain- e. To ensure that the Troupe’s productions depict ing to arts and culture in legislation policies, amending Mauritian culture and live up to the expectations and existing legislation and spearheading the formulation of aspirations of all Mauritians. new ones, especially with regard to the Act for the setting III. Make an Inventory, including age, academic, and up of the proposed National Center for Performing Arts, professional qualifications, field of specialization, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), and work conditions of experience, audio-visual (AV) portfolio, and so forth, artistes. of all performers (musicians, dancers, writers, com- It is true that there has always been a gap between govern- posers, and arrangers/choreographers) in Mauritius ment’s rhetoric and financial support. Yet, there are no other involved in creative works irrespective of any genres, alternatives to government attention, intervention, commit- forms, or styles. ment, and, above all, funding to help boost up this new kind IV. Grade musicians and dancers into A, B, and C in dif- of soft power resources. Having said this, the author further ferent forms (classical, semiclassical, light, folk, and argues that it is only through the most appropriate, efficient, free) and genres through an assessment of their level and effective tools that the government can bring about this of competences and knowledge and skills acquired. much-awaited paradigm shift and expedite development through the building up of a synergy between arts and culture The following reasons are put forth to justify this and diplomacy. And these tools are cultural policies that proposal: could be formulated in such a way as to leverage arts and a. To know the level of competences and quality of per- culture for cultural and socioeconomic development of the formances/renderings of artistes involved in music country and as soft power resources for bolstering global and dance in Mauritius for categorization purpose; image. Pudaruth 11 b. To provide an opportunity to identify excellences in monitoring, and awareness campaigns. Unfortunately, the fields and make use of high-quality human workers’ federations and associations have taken it as inputs in the creation of music and dance products; a threat to their employment conditions and rights. c. To enable and facilitate grants of support, direct and We propose that such a concept, which has worked indirect, to artistes; and is still working wonderfully in other developed d. To inculcate a sense of professionalism in artistes and developing countries, be given a fresh look at, with high potentials; and proper actions be taken, for its implementation e. To provide an incentive for budding musicians and and perpetuation. dancers to acquire more knowledge and skills, thus IX. Publicize all major artistic and cultural events in the becoming more skillful in their respective art forms; country on all social networking sites with a view to f. T o help bring local practicing artistes to interna- access and inform the global public, thus building tional standards; and up the global image and asserting a global presence. g. To identify training needs of potential performers. Joseph Nye rightly states that “Soft power is a V. All government activities marking historical, social, dance requiring partners.” and cultural events, should involve, primarily, the pool of graded artistes. These artistes should be Medium-term strategies remunerated for their participation in these activi- X. Set up Mauritian institutions, like the British ties. Such cultural events are free and are meant to Council and Alliance Francaise, to promote the promote the art forms, especially among the interest of the country in different countries. younger generation and to develop audiences in XI. Formulate cultural policies with integrated multidi- terms of quantity and quality. All artistes involved mensional and cross-sectoral approaches to lever- in such events could be provided with direct grants age music and dance as soft power resources on the throughout the duration of the preparation to enable global political arena. them to be fully involved with their creative work. XII. Involve all stakeholders, artistes, for-profit, arts and VI. Organize bilateral and multilateral meets in Mauritius culture-related micro, small, and medium enterprises; in such a way that the officials of the guest country/ for-profit, nonarts and non-culture-related corpora- ies are provided with the opportunity of getting tions; NGOs; researchers and academia; and the gen- exposed to the music and dance of the locals. eral public in cultural policy-making exercise. Similarly, as regards overseas diplomatic missions XIII. Commission expertise for qualitative and quantita- and meetings, explore possibilities of bringing along tive data collection and analysis for building up a artistes and performers in the official delegations. soft power index with regard to music and dance VII. Continuously experiment with the creation of a unique and their uses for enhancing global image of the and unifying Mauritian Music and Mauritian Dance. country. As the “Mauritian Persona” is a symbiotic entity, a XIV. Collaborate with governments of other countries to Mauritian “homo-culturalis,” continuously being enable local artistes and groups of artistes to per- culled from her or his daily interaction with the four form in international shows for greater exposure main cultures of the world, namely, Indian, European, and presence. African, and Chinese, Mauritian music and dance XV. Provide all infrastructural, physical, and human could be contemplated as being the outcomes of a facilities for the smooth functioning of the pro- blend or an integration of the best values, elements, posed National Centre for Performing Arts. and practices pertaining to these four main traditions XVI. With a view to funding music and dance activities of performing arts. Although still in its embryonic and bringing the corporate world closer to arts and form and, thus, still in the making or becoming, culture, the creation of a Corporate Cultural Mauritian music and dance have the potential of Responsibility (CCR) is proposed here, which can becoming unique cultural assets in their own right. either function within the ambit of the existing CSR VIII. A large chunk of important artistic, cultural, social, by extending a share to arts and culture, or operate as and economic activities in Mauritius, barring a few, an independent obligatory mechanism of the corpo- come to a dead end by 9.00 p.m. This does not augur rate world with a view to establishing a “dialogue” well for building up and enhancing the country’s between arts and culture and the big conglomerates. image. There have been timid efforts on the part of the concerned authorities to implement the “24 × 7” con- Long-term strategies cept whereby different activities could be carried out till late in the night, or throughout the whole night till XVII. Build and operate a state-of-the-art music and dance morning on all 7 days of the week. But this has not stadium that can accommodate 15,000 to 20,000 had many takers for want of proper planning, people for holding megaconcerts. 12 SAGE Open XVIII. Set up a ministry solely responsible for promoting 4. Retrieved from http://www.tradingeconomics.com/mauritius/ gdp-growth-annual cultural tourism and for creating and leveraging 5. The word “free” is used to indicate freedom from any appella- soft power resources and capabilities. tion, freedom from any cultural label, freedom from any rigid XIX. Initiate public/private joint ventures to build and rules and regulations pertaining to genres, styles, and forms develop an artistic and cultural village resort akin of music and dance, freedom from any form of religious, cul- in spirit to and in line with the famous Chokhi tural, and artistic barriers that can separate people, freedom for Dhani in Jaipur, the unique five-star village resort, experimenting with new artistic and aesthetic ideas and con- which captures the Rajasthani ethos and experi- cepts, and, finally, thus, freedom for “thinking out of the box.” ences, and the Lesedi African Lodge and Cultural 6. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPcCvw Village in South Africa, which showcases the dif- ZtjNw ferent African tribes and their cultures. The resort, 7. Throsby (2004). as a permanent site, will capture the multiethnicity 8. Proposed in the 2015 national budget. and multiculturalism of Mauritius and can receive between 3,000 to 5,000 visitors at one go. The pro- References posed resort, which could be located in an easily Ancharaz, V. D. (2008). David V. Goliath: Mauritius facing up to accessible region, will comprise a plethora of new China. The European Journal of Development Research, 21, and unique attractions, including permanent music 622-643. and dance classes and shows. Baldwin, D. (2000). Success and failure in foreign policy. Annual Reviews of Political Science, 3, 167-182. Berridge, G. R. (2010). Diplomacy: Theory and practice. New Concluding Remark York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. The use of power in weaving any relation is of utmost impor- Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Ed.), tance and cannot be overlooked. What differentiates the out- Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of educa- come of such a relation from another is the nature of the tion (pp. 241-258). New York, NY: Greenwood. power that is used. Soft power uses soft resources to achieve Cronin, C. (1996). 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SAGE Open – SAGE
Published: May 4, 2017
Keywords: hard power; soft power resources; rebranding; international relations; music; dance; policy
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