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Bruce AllenMemory of Bruce Allen - Soft Power Lecture

The annual Bruce Allen Memorial Lecture was first introduced in 2003 by the Macquarie University Centre for International Communication. 
From 2011, this important event became part of the SPARC annual calendar of events as the Soft Power Lecture. 
Read about Bruce Allen.

Soft Power Lecture

  • 2016 - Nicholas Greenwood Onuf: "Power as Metaphor". 

Power is a central concept in social theory and political discourse. It is also a powerful metaphor. I claim that all concepts have their origin as metaphors and that we need to attend to these metaphorical histories to make sense of the way we deploy familiar concepts. I suggest that the metaphorical history of power should start with powers as faculties or competences tied to potential or purpose. This is an Aristotelian legacy, which leads to an understanding of power as (self-)control. Newton's metaphorical invention of mass opens up a second conceptual development of power as an undifferentiated capability weighing in the balance. Contemporary discussion of 'soft power' and 'smart power' point metaphorically in different directions.  By turning power into a spongy mass, the first plays to a liberal weakness for bourgeois gentility, and the second takes power to be functionally differentiated and points to a conceptual revival of power as powers.     

Previous Bruce Allen Lectures

Other Lectures and Seminars

In June 2010, Macquarie University hosted the inaugural Soft Power public lecture which focused on cultural diplomacy in Afghanistan. The lecture, titled 'Heritage in Afghanistan: Nine Years after Bamiyan', was presented by Professor Amareswar Galla, a leading expert on museums, sustainable heritage development and poverty alleviation through culture.