Constructivism - Constructivism Ideas, Identities, Norms,...

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Unformatted text preview: Constructivism Ideas, Identities, Norms, and Social Interaction Constructivists in IR Nicholas Onuf is usually credited with being the first IR scholar to adopt an explicitly constructivist approach Onuf wrote World of Our Making (1989) Alexander Wendt is perhaps the most prominent and well-known constructivist in the field Wendt wrote Anarchy is What States Make of It : The Social Construction of Power Politics (1992) An expanded version of his argument can be found in his Social Theory of International Politics (1999) What is Constructivism? As an analytical approach to studying social relations, constructivism highlights the importance of Norms and rules Identities Social interaction The Debate Between Realism and Institutionalism: The Constructivist View Wendt sees the debate between realists and institutionalists as boiling down to an argument about the primacy of structure vs. process Realists emphasize the importance of structurespecifically, that the structure of the international system is anarchical While institutionalists recognize the importance of anarchy, they highlight opportunities for learning through interaction (i.e., process) In the institutionalist view, states are capable of learning about each others intentions through their interactions (e.g., playing repeated iterations of the PD game), especially within the context of their participation in international institutions (regimes and organizations) This process of interaction and learning is how reciprocity and conditional cooperation emerge The Big Question: Is Their An Inevitable Logic to Anarchy? Wendts argument is primarily directed against realism It is a critique of realism The big questions which Wendt seeks to answer are these: Does the structural fact of anarchy really force states to behave in the way that realism suggests? Does self-help logically flow from the mere fact of anarchy? In other words, is there a single, inevitable logic to anarchy? Wendts argument also implies that institutionalism doesnt go far enough in developing the full implications of its own logic Institutionalism, in Wendts view, concedes too much to realism Alternative Logics of Anarchy Wendt suggests that there are least three possible logics to anarchy , each of which is based upon a unique conception of security These alternative conceptions of security differ in the extent to which, and the manner in which, the self is identified cognitively with the other Competitive (Hobbesian) (Structural Realism) States identify negatively with each others security so that one states gain is seen as another states loss (zero-sum) States are risk-averse, infer intentions from capabilities, and worry about relative gains and losses States view each other as enemies Individualistic (Lockean) (Institutionalism) States are indifferent to the relationship between their own and...
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Constructivism - Constructivism Ideas, Identities, Norms,...

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