The Former Empires Soft Power: Comparing Experience of the United Kingdom and Spain

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-3-39-49

E. Kharitonova (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation;
I. Prokhorenko (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation 

Acknowledgements. The article was prepared at IMEMO within the project “Evolving polycentric world order: risks and opportunities for Russia” of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences Programme 22 “Analysis and forecast of the new global challenges and opportunities for Russia”. 

Abstract. The article looks at the United Kingdom’s and Spain’s politics and examines opportunities and limits in utilizing post-imperial identity resources in order to increase the former empires’ soft power. Comparing the countries’ contemporary experiences allows to identify characteristics relevant for Russia, which is reassessing its historical experience and declares its special interests in the former Russian Empire space in the emerging new world order. The authors analyze largely similar resources, institutional mechanisms and main instruments used by the UK and Spain in their soft power politics: language, education, arts and culture, international development assistance, and the projects aimed at reconfiguring the former colonial territories in the new historical context. The article also looks at the political elites’ and wider audiences’ perceptions regarding the cultural and ideological basis, economic interests and security considerations connected to the soft power politics, primarily in the former colonies. The major post-imperial soft power resources are language and culture, but it is economic potential, effectiveness of the social and economic models, stability of democratic institutions and a prominent role in foreign affairs that plays the defining role in increasing the attractiveness of former empires and other countries.

Keywords: soft power, soft power tools, soft power resources, empire, post-imperial identity, foreign policy of states, image of the state, informal institutes and practices


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For citation:
Kharitonova E., Prokhorenko I. The Former Empires Soft Power: Comparing Experience of the United Kingdom and Spain. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2018, vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 39-49.

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