The Affect-Emotion Gap: Soft Power, Nation Branding, and Cultural Administration in Japan
Faubion, James D.
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation analyzes the appropriation of the political theory "soft power" within Japanese national bureaucracies as a discursive mechanism through which anxious concerns for Japan's present are manufactured into hopeful sentiments for its future. In doing so, it examines how certain nonconscious capacities to feel, affects , are made knowable in more formally narrated and perceived sentiments, emotions . These terms constitute the two sides of what I call the affect-emotion gap , whereby the slippages between what one feels and what one knows about what one feels are made into sites of political and economic investment. Based on two years of fieldwork conducted at the major national bureaucracies engaged with cultural diplomacy and policy in Japan--the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the Japan Foundation--I observe how soft power ideologies are translated into administrative policies that seek to turn aesthetic production, specifically within the field of Japanese popular culture, into political resource. Ultimately, I argue that the uneasy accommodation of soft power ideology to everyday bureaucratic practice reveals a contradictory movement in which soft power is at once delegitimized as practical policy and activated as discursive ideology which, in suturing economic anxiety in the present to hope for Japan's culture industries in the future, nonetheless sustains soft power's circulation.