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The Periphery Strikes Back?

Subtlety of Latin American Power in
the United States
Leandro Rodriguez-Medina and R. Guy Emerson

In this article, we propose the concepts of “generalized” and “specialized” soft power
through an analysis of the effects of Latino power in the United States. By focusing on
demographic features, mass media, education, science and technology, and business, we
attempt to provide a snapshot of the subtlety of Latino power in terms of flows and
degrees of penetration within the U.S. landscape. We conclude by pointing out the main
differences between these two theoretic concepts to deepen the understanding of the ways
that peripheral regions might exert power on powerful countries.
En este artículo proponemos los conceptos de soft power “generalizado” y “especializado”
a través de un análisis del impacto del poder latino en los Estados Unidos.
Concentrándonos en características demográficas, los medios masivos, la educación, la
ciencia y la tecnología y el mundo de los negocios, intentamos brindar una descripción de
la sutileza del poder latino en término de flujos y grados de penetración en el paisaje
cultural estadounidense. Señalamos, en las conclusiones, las principales diferencias entre
estos dos conceptos teóricos con el fin de profundizar la comprensión de las maneras a
través de las cuales regiones periféricas pueden ejercer poder sobre países poderosos.
Key words: soft power, center and periphery, Latino power in US



lows of power and knowledge are not unidirectional. Whether it is reflected
in the concepts of mimicry, hybridity, convergence, or transculturation, the
encounter between different cultural and sociopolitical settings is a process of
exchange or, in the words of Fernando Ortiz, an “ongoing transmutation” (1995,
p. 25). The relations between core and periphery are not monolithic or unidirectional, but fluid and diffuse. In short, they are products of ongoing interaction
that permeate the cultural landscape of the Americas. Focusing specifically on
what Latin America brings to this interaction, this article asks, what are the
promises and limitations of Latino power—understood in its broadest sense—as
a basis for the circulation of knowledge in the United States? What prospects does
Latino culture hold in influencing and even helping to define U.S. society?
We explore these questions by charting the terrain of Latino power in the
United States, but rather than focusing on the effects of such power, our interest

Latin American Policy—Volume 6, Number 2—Pages 340–358
© 2015 Policy Studies Organization. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

a similar perspective is apparent in Stephen Lukes’s (2005) faces of power. The pillars of soft power. including students and scholars within the Americas. landscape. Attention then shifts to the media.S. we aimed to provide a snapshot of the subtlety of Latino power in terms of its multiple flows and various degrees of penetration within the U. One of the conclusions that we reach concerns the great diffusion of Latino power in the arts and popular culture. science and technology. Soft power is exerted if these pillars. and business and innovation. 1992)—its most famous exponent in International Relations—are culture. It does so by narrowing our focus to the production and circulation of Latino culture in the United States and exploring its multiple forms of expression. 1998.S. our goal could be loosely associated with an investigation of Latino “soft power” in the United States. political parties. and later traditional print media. and foreign policy. The article begins by locating our aims within the broader literature. Power is understood as the capacity to exert direct influence or. This then leads to a discussion on science and technology. political values. but a general stagnation among more targeted audiences. when and how. the ability to achieve one’s purposes or goal. scientists. the mass media. Certain provisos are necessary before proceeding.” “who gets left out and how. Understood in relation to the policy-making process. but also among migrant communities from non-Spanish speaking countries of origin. Education is then explored in terms of the flow of knowledge resources. whether it is understood in terms of “who gets what. or policy-making processes and more on Latino power itself. are able to influence another state’s actions. our concern centers more on the circulation of Latino power than on how it is instrumentalized and exerted over others. be they academic researchers. society.The Periphery Strikes Back? 341 centers on the multiple dimensions of Latino power. or business entrepreneurs. Within these settings. rather than hard military power or economic coercion. For example. Flows in immigration are first charted to reveal the diffusion of the Spanish language not only within established U. education. first the mass media (cinema and television). before the analysis ends by charting business relations and the impotence of Latino power in this sector of U. Literature Review By focusing on the production of Latino power. We then turn to the more substantive section of the article to explore these expressions in greater detail. DeSipio. Power is similarly conceived as a fungible asset to be possessed and exercised by certain individuals over others. It explores how Latinos influence the demographic makeup of the contemporary United States. We conclude by introducing a conceptual distinction—with empiric implications—between generalized soft power and specialized soft power that might shed light on strategies used (or not) by peripheral countries to influence great powers.” or the shaping of individual preferences.S. it is to focus less on how Latino power influences particular individuals. according to Joseph Nye (1990. our goal is not to focus on the consequences of the growing importance of the “Latino vote” in the United States and the Latino influence on the electoral cycle (cf. In other words. Abrajano & . in the words of Nye. Although such understandings of power are insightful. society.

1972. Rather than studying the effects of these flows—how they affect the policymaking process—it is the flows themselves that are our focus. This is not to dismiss the importance of individual approaches—be they ethnographic Chicano Studies or sociologic approaches informed by Georg Simmel’s (Simmel. We suggest that culture is imbricated with economic. It manifests itself in individuals. and therefore cannot be treated as an isolated monolithic thing. In the words of Chandra Talpade Mohanty (2004. Adorno & Horkheimer. Rather than a focus on the individual. society. . 2012). particularly by those following John Berry (1990) and his focus on acculturation wherein Latinos are faced with the often contradictory demands of maintaining their heritage culture while upholding relationships with U.S. print media). tastes. p. Marcuse. 1971) notion of “sociation” and the tensions and responsibilities that are associated with group membership. the various flows of Latino culture are reflective of existing sociopolitical and socioeconomic trends. 2010. television. 1964) and toward examining a range of media that we enter into in our daily lives (Real. The aim here was to look at Latino culture itself and its various dynamics rather than the construction of a kind of “Latino subjectivity. social.S. As is demonstrated below. Latino power is involved in an ongoing restructuring of social knowledge. political (local and international). (3) education (flows of students and scholars). For example. (4) science and technology (patents.” To this extent.342 Latin American Policy Alvarez. For us. Lazos. it is not a matter of . Although it could be hypothesized that increased Latino news informs U.” Instead. our analysis is consistent with steps within media research to move away from how mass media affect us (cf. Ramirez-Berg. in regards to cinema. (2) mass media (cinema. and policy dynamics. We explore it in five forms. we focus on Latino culture as a whole (albeit a fluid. with our interest lying in how these particular flows are produced and circulate within the United States. Much interesting work has been generated in this field. 1996. although we acknowledge the complexity of representing the Latino “Other” in U. policies. our research is restricted merely to charting the rate of Latin American news. but its operation exceeds this. collaborative research). as isolated . we put culture at the center of our analysis. To focus on the production and circulation of Latino power is to explore its multiple forms of expression. Similarly. Although recent developments in the United States demonstrate the importance of such factors—including the rapprochement with Cuba and the candidacy of Marco Rubio (of Cuban descent) in the 2016 presidential race—our concern is less with the consequences of demographic trends on electoral analysis than with the varying dynamics of Latino power. regarding the media. behaviors and practices. as a storehouse of nonchanging facts. 221). p. (1) immigration (demographic and linguistic changes). and (5) business (entrepreneurs and innovation). intersected and enriched by its association with other cultures. and fears. In relation to business and innovation. xiii). Latino culture is less an exact entity than a dynamic and fluid assemblage. cinema—including negative stereotypes (cf. culture cannot be understood “as noncontradictory. above all else. evolving whole). This interpretation significantly informs how we map Latino power in the United States. .S. the article is a quantitative mapping of the dynamics of Latino power. 2002)—our interest is in the quantitative presence of Latino cinema rather than its qualitative effects. power is. In short.

and business flows that we now turn. The production. we look at the number of student and scholar exchanges within the Americas. 1995. As recent studies demonstrate. South America sent the fewest number of Latin American immigrants in 2011. Census Bureau.The Periphery Strikes Back? 343 measuring business confidence in the region. “Scientists in advanced countries are most likely to collaborate with those in other advanced nations” (Wagner. Brahmakulam. but also geopolitical configurations. xii). but also the definition of “Latino. and cultural relationships between nations (Schott.1 It is clear that Mexicans in the United States help shape not only the idea of Mexico. education. half a century later. International exchange demonstrates the intersection of culture and political economic themes insofar as the rates of exchange are reflective of geopolitical alliances (Barnett & Yingli Wu. Table 2 shows the presence of immigrants in the United States in 2011 (Migration Policy Institute. Wong. The number of Mexican immigrants has increased five times since 1980. and circulation of knowledge reflect not only epistemic strategies (at individual.9% of all Latin American immigrants in 1960 and. and just 24% prefer a pan-ethnic label. in relation to production of knowledge.” Unlike Mexicans and Central Americans. and regional levels). it is important to note at the outset the difficulty of speaking in pan-ethnic labels. It is toward a more in-depth examination of these immigration. p. According to the U. while others move peripherally around them. McMahon.S. among Americans who trace their roots to Spanish-speaking countries. be it “Latino” or “Hispanic” (Taylor. Rather.7 million South American immigrants resided in the United States. To this extent. Table 1 shows that Mexico is by far the most relevant Latin American country. & Velasco. 2012). If there is an obvious indicator of the presence of Latino culture in the United States. Similarly. Martínez. Lopez. Goodwin. practices that only reinforce the center–periphery structure. The rates of exchange have traditionally been understood to relate to already existing political. With respect to education and the flow of knowledge resources (students and scholars). core countries such as the United States are often understood to play a central role. Moreover. socioeconomic–political story. coproduction. & Yoda. Given these numbers. the majority (51%) prefer to identify themselves by their family’s country of origin. business environment. institutional.8%). in 2011. they are still a rather marginal group (12. making up almost 7% of all immigrants (Migration Policy Institute. 1993). South American immigrants are a far smaller group. 2013). 2001. science and technology. mass media. Data and Discussion Although this article is dedicated to indicating general trends in “Latino” soft power in the United States. any potential increase or decrease in flows would tell a larger.S. national. 1993. economic. . Jackson. 2013). South Americans were 9. more than 2. from barely more than 2 million people to more than 11 million people in 2013 (Pew Hispanic Center. 2012). Throughout the article we use nation-specific labels to chart specific trends and also a generalized “Latino” label to outline larger cultural movements. 1992). it is migration. it is to explore the penetration of Latino entrepreneurs and enterprises in the U.

40. the number of U.500 11.5% were. a recent phenomenon is that the share of U. a trend that significantly differentiates the United States from European countries with a colonial tradition.8 million non-Hispanics who speak Spanish at home? Some 59% trace their ancestry to non-Spanish European countries such as Germany. 2013b).1% of Hispanics were foreign-born.2 Even more interesting is that Spanish is the most spoken non-English language among those whose origin is not a Hispanic country. but in 2012. In 2000. “a record 37. such as Brazil (73%). Ireland. Nonetheless. In the same period.000 Source: Migration Policy Institute.8 foreign-born) (Pew Hispanic Center. such as Venezuela (51%).1 million (18. England and Italy. Within the Hispanic community.199. 2014). about one-in-five (18%) non-Hispanic Spanish speakers trace their heritage to a Spanish-speaking country (Pew Hispanic Center. Who are the 2.000 9.298.6 million persons aged 5 years and older speak Spanish at home. the only country where the United States is perceived negatively is Argentina (43% have a positive image).1 foreign-born) to 34. and with political disagreements with the United States. 2013a).177. the only Latin American country with a shared border and the most frequent experience of U. An additional 12% say they are of African American descent.400 11. Latin Americans perceive it positively. 2015).S.000 11. but even in countries with regional aspirations. The increased prevalence of Spanish in public spaces— from airports to political campaigns—means that the Spanish language is growing in importance among non-Spanish speakers. Almost 3 million people speak Spanish without having been born in a Hispanic country.344 Latin American Policy Table 1. . Mexican Authorized and Unauthorized Immigrant Population in the United States. also has a positive perception of its North American Free Trade Agreement partner (66%) (Pew Hispanic Center. Hispanics went from 21. there is a mostly positive image of the northern neighbor.585. Mexico. Hispanics who are foreign born is in decline as growth in the Hispanic immigrant population stalls. In 2013. 1980–2013 Year Number of immigrants 1980 1990 2000 2006 2010 2013 2.” which makes it the most spoken non-English language in the country (Pew Hispanic Center. One important consequence of the increased immigrant population from Hispanic countries is that the Spanish language is acquiring a strategic importance within the United States. only 35.1 million people (14. As Table 3 shows.711. Perhaps due to the central role of the United States in the region.S.541. 2014.S. pretensions.200 4.

1 1.1 4.544 189.132 3. the second country in the ranking.2 0.3 0. is in third place.861 97.922 1.2 0.115 32.875 76.1 0.2 Source: Migration Policy Institute.337 658.5 0.626 329. 2014.260 696.094.111 1.5 3. whereas Argentina. we find.2 0. almost 8.437 592.990 22.264.6 0.4 1.776.8 3.882 490.556 78.319 49.476 259.2 5.811 30.8 0. Foreign-Born Population by Country of Birth. If we use the International Movie Database (IMDb. 2015).0 2.036 411.074 69.017 11.000 Mexican productions or co-productions.100 73. Colombia is placed fourth.4 6.1 2.2 0.136 2.369 897. Vincent and the Grenadines Trinidad and Tobago West Indies Other Caribbean South America Argentina Bolivia Brazil Chile Colombia Ecuador Guyana Peru Uruguay Venezuela Other South America 14.783 34. far away from Mexico. Brazil.5 54.2 0. has produced only slightly more than half of that amount.1 0.3 12.3 1.758.0 17. The southern giant. The weight of Spanish and the growth of the Hispanic community in the United States may help explain the growing presence of Latin American films.649 103.636 241.0 4.2 1.219 45.0 1.263 28. as Table 4 shows.9 0.The Periphery Strikes Back? 345 Table 2.743 850.667 435.672.689 10.2 0. 2011 Area/country of origin Population % Central America Mexico Belize Costa Rica El Salvador Guatemala Honduras Nicaragua Panama Other Central America Caribbean Bahamas Barbados Cuba Dominica Dominican Republic Grenada Haiti Jamaica St.9 0.544 162.8 0.710.061 225.619 45. .829 44.9 0.8 0.1 2.

is an example of the presence of Latino culture in mainstream media.S.S. a recent television show. Understood in terms of locally produced cinema (rather than co-productions with the United States).672 499 Source: IMDb.$35. Although inspired by the Swedish–Danish production Broen/Bron/The Bridge and originally set to take place on the U.355 3. the top five Argentine movies. this show is about two police detectives and their investigation of a serial killer who menaces the United States and Mexico along the Texas–Chihuahua border. Table 4. 2015. Titles Produced or Co-Produced by Country Country Titles Mexico Argentina Brazil Colombia 7.$245 million in earnings. A search of Latin American countries in .4 FX broadcast the show in 2013 and 2014 and cancelled it after two seasons. There is clearly an audience in the United States for Latin American movies. including the 2010 Oscar-winner El Secreto de sus Ojos. in contrast.3 On a qualitative note. this investigation is affected by the corruption and violence of drug cartels.346 Latin American Policy Table 3.902 4.S. the weight of Mexican cinema is further demonstrated. which is based on—and reinforces—the general perception of what is happening on the border at this moment. The top five Mexican movies took in more than U. Further exploring the portrayal of Latino culture in the United States.–Canadian border. it is informative to examine the print media. media and public. but the preeminence of Mexican films calls for further analysis as to whether it depends on audience preferences or factors such as marketing. earned only U.S. Fiction and reality combine to give rise to a specific kind of presence of Latino affairs among the U. The Bridge. or celebrities in the cast. 2015. although it was well received by critics. 2015).8 million (IMDb. As expected. Opinion About the United States by Selected Country Country Brazil Peru Chile Mexico Venezuela Argentina Favorable (%) Unfavorable (%) 73 70 68 66 51 43 27 30 32 34 49 57 Source: Pew Hispanic Center. quality of movies.

science.849 1. TV. In 2005.387 7. Presence in Articles of the New York Times by Country and Section of the Newspaper Country Mexico Brazil Argentina Colombia Venezuela Chile Bolivia Uruguay World Opinion NY and region Total 9. Table 5 also illustrates the rather marginal presence of other Latin American countries. in particular within the natural sciences. press)—its importance changes quite dramatically when we shift the focus to the themes of education and business. is in more than 9.S.827 2. with Mexico relegated to second or third position. Understood in relation to a nation’s “specialized presence” in the United States. and even geopolitical events—it is nonetheless indicative of the centrality of Mexico in shaping how the U. Note: From 1851 to April 14.271 845 866 987 330 272 5. The circulation of students and scholars not only reflects the internationalization of education. has been widely documented. If Mexico has been the most important Latin American country in U.562 1. in regards to business. Mexico is cited twice as often as Brazil in the World section. there are approximately 886. whereas only ten years ago there were 572.946 9.814 4.000 articles. n. the following section demonstrates that.000 articles. but also reveals the quality of relations between countries and geographic areas. Mexico (#9) and Brazil (#10) are the only two Latin American countries in this select group. Table 6 shows the top places of origin of international students in the United States.027 5.129 6. popular perception—partially because of immigrants and their presence in popular culture (cinema.856 1.070 1. and information technologies.823 1. engineering. Brazil is the most influential county. Mexico appears in almost 19.d. While this trend is far from confined to cultural issues—relating to economic. and education.000 international students in the United States.509.399 637 752 253 178 18. technology.2% of the total number of enrolled students.). international students were 3. and now they are 4. It is not surprising that China and India are the two countries at the top of the list. the flows of people indicate underlying social processes that more often than not reflect existing power relations.070 3.201 1.2% (Institute of International Education.372 Source: NY Times.S. The New York Times database shows that Mexico is by far the country most mentioned in this prestigious newspaper (New York Times. Nowadays. the second most cited country. three times more in the Opinion section. Their influence. and almost four times more in the New York and Region section.314 5. 2014).657 4.717 1.The Periphery Strikes Back? 347 Table 5. an increase of 64%.330 4. security. media engages with the region. Put alternatively.406 922 4. 2015. although outnumbered . whereas Brazil.989 1. 2015.

7 −1.099 3. but also an increase in Memoranda of Understandings between participat- . Students in Selected Foreign Destinations.579 14.779 13.098 14.644 96.S.485 4.0 +3.304 21.919 28. 2014. but in terms of overall trends. as Table 7 shows.5 −3. 2012–2013 and 2013–2014 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Place of origin 2012–2013 2013–2014 % Change China India South Korea Saudi Arabia Canada Taiwan Japan Vietnam Mexico Brazil 235. If these figures are disaggregated.334 16.2 +3.7 +21.199 10.7 6. Between 2009 and 2014.439 102.2 1. the proximity of Mexico to the United States and their long tradition of exchange may not be enough to forestall Brazil’s becoming Washington’s most relevant partner in terms of international students. 2014.4 2.286 31.2 Source: Institute of International Education.754 70.357 21. In one year.867 19. the number of U. Although we do not have the space to further disaggregate these figures.1 3.627 44. whereas the numbers to Brazil increased 36%.5 −2. As Roderic Ai Camp (1992) has demonstrated. students in Mexico decreased 52%.1 +22. there was an increase of more than 22%.223 7. which foreshadows that Brazil could soon replace Mexico in ninth place. over the last 40 years the United States has become the major destination for the education of the Mexican elite.S.348 Latin American Policy Table 6.1 +16.S.566 27.047 53. students studying in Latin America.568 16.6 7.266 19. Table 7.167 3.868 274. Brazil and Mexico also top the list of destination countries for U. U.0 +4.5 +8.9 1. What is worth mentioning is the astonishing growth of Brazilian students in the United States when we compare 2012–2013 and 2013–2014. it is important to acknowledge the socioeconomic status of exchange students. important trends are apparent. Top 10 Places of Origin of International Students in the United States.730 180 200 294 340 142 117 121 57 Source: Institute of International Education.673 68.2 2.0 11. This increase reveals not only the attractiveness of Brazil as a scholastic destination. by smaller countries such as Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.815 3.7 1. 2009–2013 Year Brazil Mexico Colombia Venezuela 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012 1012/2013 3.152 4.060 4.

to the detriment of their peripheral counterparts. Takeno.5%).184 8.4%).551 4. as is shown in Table 10. 2014).409 10.7 −4 +2. engineering (15.6 6.996 29. Özden & Schiff. as Wagner (2008) argues. From an institutional perspective. 765. 2012–2013 and 2013–2014 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Place of origin 2012–2013 2013–2014 % Change China India South Korea Germany Japan Canada France Italy Brazil Spain 34.9 8. Although the preeminence of the natural sciences.230 11.6 +2. tend to collaborate with each other.506 7. areas that have invigorated the U. Solimano. International scholars are scarce resources (Ángel-Urdinola. Kapur & McHale. As Table 9 shows.804 3. Mexico (#15.409 3. When the focus shifts to scholars.5 4.264 3.2 +12.673 scholars to the United States in 2013–2014 (12. it is also worth mentioning the stagnant . Top 10 Places of Origin of International Scholars in the United States.2 3 2. and mathematics is clear throughout the period. Brazil sent 3.1 −8. and health professions (13.887 3.S. engineering. 2014). 2008).934 5.7 Source: Institute of International Education. Although an explanation behind the shift toward Brazil encompasses a variety of factors—fewer security concerns than Mexico. that most international scholars in the United States are working in physical and life sciences (35.914 international scholars in 2013–2014. preeminence in world markets (Institute of International Education.5 −1. 2014). elite institutions on the East and West Coast have hosted slightly more than 25% of total scholars (Institute of International Education. 2014. ing institutions. growing ease of travel—cumulatively it tells a larger story that is consistent with expanding Brazilian influence in the region and beyond.041 4.741 4.6%) are the other two Latin American countries in the top 25. 0.5 +6.710 5. As they are crucial for innovation. Moreover. 2005. 2008.3% of the total) and Colombia (#25.696 5. it is not surprising. 2006. 2014).8 −2. it is necessary to point out that Brazil is the only Latin American country on this list. if attention is paid to the countries listed.047 36.705 4. & Wodon. and the information society is always demanding more of them.5% more than in 2012–2013) (Institute of International Education. well behind Brazil (#9) (Institute of International Education.525 3.4 −6.9 −6. Although this is only 10% of the number of Chinese scholars in the United States during the same period. 1.7 3. out of 121.7 3. As Table 8 shows. 1.5 3.546 4.9 3.6%).525 scholars. only great powers and developed nations are mentioned. This means that Brazil may have entered the group of powers that.673 2. the worldleading universities of the United States are also the most attractive for international scholars.The Periphery Strikes Back? 349 Table 8. the picture changes again.

5 13.6 8 3.4 4 13. San Diego Johns Hopkins University University of California.6 11.634 2. in 2000.6 6. Proportionally.7 7.8 5.3 4. and countries emerge. knowledge economy (Institute of International Education.S. Los Angeles University of California. Health professions also show an important decrease. which points to the increasing relevance of technology not only within academia but also within the U. groups.1% over the last 15 years) and social sciences (up 0.4 1.274 3. 2014.3 3.7 Source: Institute of International Education.772 2.350 Latin American Policy Table 9.9 7.9 5.7 5. 2013–14 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Institution Number of scholars Harvard University University of California.230 3. 2014.1 18.7 5.7 35. Major Field of Specialization of International Scholars. Selected Years Field Agriculture Engineering Health professions Math and computer science Physical and life sciences Social sciences Humanities Business and management Education Fine and applied arts Other fields of study 1999–2000 2004–2005 2009–2010 2013–2014 3.1 5.6 7. engineering has the most significant increase. Table 10.4 2.6 1.496 2. 2014). Davis Yale University 4.7% over the last 15 years).6 34.064 2.3 15. Although the movement of scholars is one way in which knowledge circulates and long-term associations between people. the crucial output of this movement is innovation and the creation of original .1 5.7 3.556 3. 30% in less than two decades.6 21.9 23.281 3. position of the humanities (down 1. they made up 24% of specializations.5 2.9 2. Ann Arbor Stanford University Columbia University University of California.5 31. Berkeley University of Michigan.9 1.4 3.8 1. Leading Institutions Hosting International Scholars.7 1.5 34.7 11.5 1.7 3. whereas in 2014 they were only 13%.4 5.8 3.2 4.722 2.457 Source: Institute of International Education.8 1.

academics (National Science Foundation.3%). Brazil (2.The Periphery Strikes Back? 351 45000 40000 35000 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 Argenna Brazil 2012 2010 2011 2008 2009 2006 2007 2005 2003 2004 2001 2002 1999 2000 1998 1997 1995 1996 1994 1992 1993 1991 1990 0 Mexico Figure 1.S. China.385) (ISI Web of Science. The Netherlands (5. The main contributor to world science is the United States. One possible consequence of these data is that Brazil is showing a growing interest in participating in the international debates on science and technology by increasing its share in the number of publications and its relevance as a scientific partner for U.S.S. institutions and scholars (Regalado. ISI WoS is fundamentally a U. as it disproportionally contains U.3%) are more significant partners for U. Mexico (1. the ISI Web of Science (WoS) (ISI Web of Science. It is so unknown whether in the future Mexico and Argentina will play a more residual role in this epistemic landscape. as is exemplified by its extended use as a tool to grant promotion within U. This is important given that scholars from smaller scientific communities such as Australia (5. scientists by coauthoring scientific articles. and five times more than Argentina (9. despite its global aspirations.S.624). It is therefore necessary to focus on Latin American countries’ performance in terms of publications as well as their collaboration with U.135 articles. Brazil and Mexico’s production was comparable in the 1990s. In other words. and Sweden (3. 2015) is important. 2015). Table 11 shows that four countries count for 50% of all collaborations (United Kingdom.6%). . 2015.5 Current trends in global science are important in this regard.8%). its presence in the United States’ scientific fields) has increased significantly over the last few years. Latin America plays a residual role. 2010).1%) are the most relevant cases. academia. and Canada). While Argentina. scholars. While the number of single-authored articles and domestic (national) coauthored articles is in decline. nowadays Brazil publishes 42. 1990–2012. almost four times more than Mexico (11. knowledge. consequently. 2008). Germany. product. the number of international coauthored articles has increased consistently over the last two decades (Wagner.S. so it is particularly interesting to see what has happened in terms of collaboration with U.S. by Selected Countries Source. Figure 1 shows that Brazilian scientific production (and. 2011). Articles Published in Scientific Journals.S. journals.0%). ISI. and Argentina (1. In this context.

3 11.2 1.1 1.7 1.7 13.5 2.8 2. outnumbers the second country.5 1.3 2.3 7.3 5.3 5.0 4. Brazil is still the most influential Latin American country.3 1.1 Source: National Science Foundation. International Co-Authorship of Science and Engineering Articles with the United States. Mexico.3 1.5 5. by Selected Country. When scientific influence is measured using the number of patents in the United States. 2011. science and innovation.S.3 2.6 1.352 Latin American Policy Table 11. This relates foremost to the increased funding of science and technology in the country as well as the need to protect local developments at the international level (Albornoz. international articles 14.4 1. by 25%. 2012).5 2. and the third country.1 13.8 7. they are almost absent in the world of business.2 1.4 3. Argentina. Brazil.6 2.0 1. As Table 12 shows.8 8. at the top of the list. 2010 Country United Kingdom China Germany Canada France Italy Japan South Korea Australia Spain Netherlands Switzerland Sweden Israel Brazil Taiwan India Belgium Russia Denmark Austria Poland Mexico Finland Norway Greece Singapore New Zealand South Africa Turkey Argentina Country share of U.0 5.S. We do not mean that there are no . 2015). by 164% (ISI Web of Science.8 1.8 2. If Latin Americans have a limited presence in U.

we argue that. . U. Bill Gates. 1990) (see Table 13). Johnson & Johnson. Latino entrepreneurs in the United States or that some Latin American business people are not known there. Google. Note: Patents from 1976 to 2015.S.925 1. Patents by Country of Non-Resident Inventor Country Number of patents Brazil Mexico Argentina Venezuela Chile Colombia Peru 4. In contrast. IBM BMW. Germany merits recognition not only because it is the second on the list (with four companies). L’Oreal Samsung Ferrero Lego Group Nokia Nestlé Philips Electronics 9 4 4 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 Source: Forbes.868 964 677 444 147 Source: U.944 3. Colgate-Palmolive. Daimler-Mercedes Benz. Patent and Trademark Office. perceptions. Honda Michelin. 2015. Apple. within U.S. Nike. which have been some of the most powerful enterprises in the history of 20thcentury capitalism. one of the most important business publications (Parsons. The World’s 25 Most Reputable Companies Country United States Germany Japan France South Korea Italy Denmark Finland Switzerland The Netherlands Corporations Total The Walt Disney Company. An indicator of this absence could be the ranking of the 25 most reputable businesses in the world listed by Forbes Magazine. 2015. Table 13. given that these companies outperform other U. Canon.S. a performance all the more significant given that Forbes is a U. Adidas Sony.The Periphery Strikes Back? 353 Table 12. but also because BMW (#1) and Daimler-Mercedes Benz (#3) are among the most reputable companies in the world. the Latin American business environment (companies and individual entrepreneurs) is largely absent. or Mark Zuckerberg have transcended the local landscape to become crucial global actors. such as GM and Ford. publication. vehicle manufacturers. This is of some significance. Volkswagen. Intel.S. innovators such as Henry Ford. Microsoft.S. Instead. Panasonic.

high-end entrepreneurs tend to be far away from global best practices in the management of their enterprises. Further demonstrative of the impotence of Latino business are recent comments by U. Messina. “there are many untapped business opportunities south of Mexico. The World Bank has also provided reasons as to why Latin America is not present in the worldview of U. and resolving insolvency. Pienknagura. As an expert of the Inter-American Development Bank (2015) noted: Entrepreneurship in Latin America bears no resemblance to that of other regions: beginning with size—most businesses are micro or small—and ending with motivation—entrepreneurs are what they are more “by necessity” than “by opportunity. but is lacking in Latin American business. getting electricity. but also because of a generalized mindset according to which “Latin Americans blame capitalism (.S. which have hindered their presence at the international level. protecting investors. 58% export to only one country. getting credit. Latin America is a difficult area for business not only for structural reasons.S.” On top of these traits. In this context. registering property. enforcing contracts. 2014). . It is in this domain of entrepreneurship that businesses in LAC [Latin America and the Caribbean] score relatively badly. p. 2014). & Rigolini. paying taxes. Latin American entrepreneurs have little appetite for risk and innovation. trading across borders. which the program hopes to open up for U. . Pritzker asserted that. and patent activity is well below benchmark levels (Lederman. a recent study has described why Latin American business is not a model to which the Unites States usually turns. Currently.” and “some company cultures are becoming (only recently) more ‘Americanized’ ” (Michigan State University. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. the regional average is 107.S. with Peru (#42) the best business environment and Venezuela (#181) the worst. Calling for an increase in business relations.S. businesses export their products. we described a diffused influence . According to the Doing Business Report (2014): The ease of doing business index ranks economies from 1 to 189. In the same line of thinking. dealing with construction permits.S. As a region. On the one hand. For each economy the ranking is calculated as the simple average of the percentile rankings on each of the 10 topics included in the index in Doing Business 2014: starting a business. business landscape can be related to business structures in the region. only 1% of U. which. and of those. LAC firms introduce new products less frequently than firms in otherwise similar economies. makes enterprises less sophisticated and innovative than their European or Asian counterparts. usually Canada or Mexico” (LA Times.354 Latin American Policy The reasons behind the absence of Latin Americans on the U. Conclusions This article has evidenced two diverse. business people. companies. 2014. 7).) for economic problems.” “Latin America (is) less stable than developed countries. together with the limited availability of human capital. firms’ investment in R&D is low. but intertwined tendencies in Latino power in the United States. Innovation is highly celebrated in the United States.

6 Table 14 summarizes the differences between the two types of soft power.g. (mis)conceptions. and more. wherein Mexico exercises control over its cultural resources and explicitly seeks a political objective in increasing its presence in the United States. Source: Authors’ elaboration. and stereotypes to travel. research centers) Patents. expert reports.S. and enforce a worldview about an actor (individuals. scholarly mobility programs. universities. it still counts as power. Range Policy implication Diffused It contributes to create. think tanks. organizations.g. Specialized soft power Experts Specialized groups (e.. professional meetings. TV shows. countries. scholars. scientific journals) Professional organizations Expert institutions (e. we introduced another type of power in which the influential actor. Some questions arise after introducing this dichotomy.) Specialized media (e. beliefs. disseminate. cannot be controlled by any country. fiction books. innovators. this conception of “soft power” is not to be understood in an instrumental fashion. As noted in the introduction. Instead of affecting a broad audience through this targeted soft power. such as Mexico.g.g. Targeted It channels influence through specific individuals and organizations that act as intermediaries with regards to decision making. it could be argued that . prejudices. scientists or scholars) to make them emissaries. according to which some countries...The Periphery Strikes Back? 355 Table 14. as the presence of the country within another country’s worldview allows ideas. or regions) that permeates into decision making. Generalized Soft Power versus Specialized Soft Power Criterion Generalized soft power Actors Popular culture Broad audiences Means Mainstream media Face-to-face interaction Popular cultural production Outputs Movies. can a country attempt to develop a dual strategy and become influential at both generalized and specific levels? From a logical point of view. social media. strictly speaking. Brazil. First. is able to penetrate the U. scientists. specialized individuals or groups. values.. research articles. in this case. On the other hand. have gained presence in popular discourses by means of media and cultural productions. Although this kind of influence. it aims to change the mindset of specialized actors (e. To what extent this presence can become actual power is something that needs to be empirically determined. landscape by acting on specific.

not only because it is one key category in the realm of International Relations. 4 “The idea of setting it on the border was particularly interesting because it seemed like the Mexico/America border was so ripe for drama. .356 Latin American Policy countries might choose such an option. 6 To what extent Brazil’s science and technology policy can be seen as an instrument that the state created and developed to influence foreign countries (and the United States in particular) is something that needs further research. China.S. and some 58% of the estimated 11. As pressure might come from the general public and from specific groups of experts (usually less numerous than the former. but with more lobbying capacities). “just over half (51%) of all current Mexican immigrants are unauthorized. Some have argued in that direction. And these stories. It seems that there is some political will in promoting scientific and technological development beyond the mere pursuit of knowledge. are Mexican”. Finally. About the Authors Leandro Rodriguez-Medina and R.” (Raftery. . As a result. it is difficult to determine whether one strategy can be more efficient. There’s massive crime and corruption and immigration’s such a hotbed issue. “Brazilian assistance programs focus on technical cooperation in developing countries (TCDC). . a concept Brazil has promoted since the 1960s. gastronomy. Best Original Screenplay. and Russia have had a generalized influence on the United States and others. Notes 1 According to the Pew Hispanic Center (2012). such as France (in fashion. What this article has demonstrated is the need to deepen our understanding of soft power. does one of these types of power have a better chance of influencing decision makers? More empiric research is needed. Costa Vaz and Aoki Inoue (2007) have pointed out that. and Best Motion Picture) in 2015 reinforce this fact. cosmetics). 2 By 2020. according to some studies (Pew Hispanic Center. but also because it allows us to understand the subtleties around the very phenomenon of the power as exerted by the periphery. but at first glance. there will be 40 million Spanish speakers in the United States.” executive producer Meredith Stiehm argued about the location shift. “You see it in the headlines every day. it seems possible to argue that countries such as Great Britain. . 2013b). human. . and material resources) as well as the difficulty in manipulating these approaches go against the dual strategy. is this conceptualization useful to understand the influence of other areas? Although much more research is required. In their analysis of Brazil’s international cooperation. see Regalado (2010). Second. 2013). there seems to be no difference in terms of the effects on the political system. Brazil’s scientific prowess has made the country a valuable international partner in scientific and technological cooperation” (p. . but the costs of these alternatives (in terms of economic. So I hope that will translate into some drama about the people that are facing those issues.2 million unauthorized immigrants in the U. Guy Emerson are Lecturers in the Department of International Relations and Political Science. 3 The Oscar Awards to Mexican directors Alfonso Cuarón (Best Directing and Best Film Editing) in 2014 and to Alejandro González Iñárritu (Best Directing. they’re right there happening in our country and right across the border every day. University of the Americas Puebla. TCDC programs and projects represent the largest component of Brazil’s cooperative activities in developing countries and are based on Brazilian scientific and technological advances . the country does not undertake programs that involve grants or concessional loans. 2). Germany (mechanical engineering) and Japan (electronic technologies) have developed a more targeted soft power. 5 For some explanations about the boom of Brazilian science.

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