JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources. Our systems have detected unusual traffic activity from your network. Nature and significance of political theory pdf a form of reflectivist critique of the scientific approach to the study of social sciences, constructivism was initially developed as a mostly interpretive metatheory.
Its substantial and wide-ranging influence perhaps derives from the fact that what is says seems to be just common sense. Can China be Defined as an Authoritarian State? Wilhelm Dilthey, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and R. The fact that constructivism emerged as a metatheory about how social sciences in general operate appears to have been the main reason the practice of constructivism in IR drew a good deal of criticism at the outset. It was in the middle of 1990s that the alternative works of some IR theorists helped to develop and present constructivism as a substantive theory of international behaviour. In fact, the end of the Cold War set the stage for the rise to prominence of the constructivist school of thought in IR which caused a profound remoulding of debates within the dominant discourse of international relations theory.
IR to welcome alternative constructivist perspectives. Frankfurt School-oriented critical theories and feminism. Constructivism is the view that the manner in which the material world shapes and is shaped by human action and interaction depends on dynamic normative and epistemic interpretations of the material world. In contrast to realism, for which international relations are driven by the states’ security and material interests defined in terms of power, and to liberal internationalism that concentrates upon the interdependency of international actors and their operation within institutional constraints, constructivism considers international politics as a sphere of interaction which is shaped by the actors’ identities and practices and influenced by constantly changing normative institutional structures. Rather, what makes much sense for the constructivist is that under anarchy different social structures and arrangements, cooperative and conflictual, can be formed and defined on the basis of actors’ social identities, and accordingly, the way they construct their national interests and devise relevant means to secure them. So constructivists do not take anarchy for granted and ascribe the condition of a group of states to the inescapable requirements of anarchy, but what matters for them is to examine how states’ identities and interests are constructed as well as the role their certain international interactions play in this regard. More significantly, the meaning of material capabilities in terms of power is constructed on the basis of social interactions and shared understandings, that is, the latter give meaning to the former.
IR theorists for ignoring these sociological aspects. Identities and preferences of international actors, for constructivism, are shaped by the social structures that are not fixed or unchanging. Broadly speaking, as a widely discussed theory of IR, constructivism has appeared in two major varieties, North American and European, which differ principally in the questions they ask about international relations and foreign policy-making as well as the methods they use to answer them. Alexander Wendt, Emmanuel Adler, Nicholas Onuf, John Gerard Ruggie, Peter Katzenstein and Martha Finnemore. Epitomized by the writings of John G. Despite being a state-centrist scholar of international politics, Wendt criticizes neorealists and neoliberals for reifying the structure of states system and taking for granted its ontological and ideational properties, which precludes us from considering and assessing the potentials for structural and institutional change in the international politics. This is perhaps the major reason why Wendtian constructivism is widely viewed as being a quintessentially systemic theory.