The Arts of Michael Moore and American Soft Power

Bjørn Olav Knutsen, Elisabeth Pettersen


Michael Moore is one of the most disputed authors and filmmakers in the United States. The purpose with this article is to try to shed some new insights and understandings of Moore's political views as they are represented in his book "Dude, Where's My Country?" and film "Fahrenheit 911". By applying insights from international relations theory, we are trying to get a better understanding of Moore's political views by putting his views within the framework of "soft power". According to the soft power concept, the US' mightiest power resource as of today is not its hard power (such as military and economic strength), but its soft power such as the attractiveness of its culture, political ideals, and policies. By applying the soft power concept, the article explains how Michael Moore is advocating a new foreign policy of the United States. This is a United States, which safeguards an international system made up by norms, institutions and a collective international order. Furthermore, the article underlines that Michael Moore's popularity cannot be explained by rising anti-Americanism on a global scale, but quite the opposite. Instead, Michael Moore's films and books could be regarded as a symptom of US soft power where he represents what people around the world regards as the attractiveness of the United States.

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