Soft Power and Cultural Capital of Nations: the Case of Film Industry

930
DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-11-106-113
G. Paksiutov (gpaksyutov@mail.ru), 
Lomonosov Moscow State University, 11/1, Mokhovaya Str., Moscow, 125009, Russian Federation

Abstract. The article showcases the similarities between Joseph Nye’s concept of soft power and Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of capital, and attempts to draw upon the latter to deepen the understanding of the role of culture as a source of soft power. This approach is applied to study the role of a national film industry as a soft power tool. First, based on the existing academic literature, some key concepts relevant to the film industry are conceptualized in terms of Bourdieu’s theory of capital. After that, Bourdieu’s research frameworks – particularly, the concept of cultural capital – are used to describe how national film industry contributes to a nation’s cultural influence on the global stage. The author specifically highlights the importance of consideration of “institutionalized cultural capital” (or institutional recognition) and presents some evidence on film awards, namely, the awards from three large European film festivals (Berlin, Venice and Cannes) and Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film. It is emphasized that European countries (such as Italy and France) and the U.S. are in advantageous position in regard to this component of cultural influence: motion pictures produced by these countries receive awards very frequently, while, for instance, African and South American films are awarded scarcely. Such tendencies demonstrate unequal possibilities of countries for the use of national cinema as a tool of cultural influence. The author asserts that a national “soft power strategy” can be seen, in terms of Bourdieu’s theory of capital, as a capital conversion strategy, and discusses the implications of such approach. Furthermore, the applicability of Bourdieu’s theory of capital for the analysis of Russian cinema as a soft power tool is discussed. In conclusion, the author summarizes theoretical and practical implications of the proposed approach, draws attention to some of possible directions for further research. 

Keywords: soft power, cultural capital, Pierre Bourdieu, film industry


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For citation:
Paksiutov G. Soft Power and Cultural Capital of Nations: the Case of Film Industry. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2020, vol. 64, no. 11, pp. 106-113. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-11-106-113



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