Constructivism as a Theory of International Politics
- social reality is constructed by our understandings of it
- asks constitutive questions as well as causal ones
o How-possible? What? v. How? Why?
- what are ‘great powers’ and ‘rogue states’?
- what are ‘sovereign territorial states’?
- how are identities formed?
- what are interests?
- how do identities shape interests?
- why do materially similar states behave differently?
- how is it possible for security dilemmas to become security communities emerge?
- what are norms, principles, and rules?
- why do state comply with some norms and not others?
- statist constructivists (Wendt)
o state has a ‘personality’ and effective agency
o ideational structure
- transnational constructivists
o states are not agents
International order is anarchic, but anarchy is what states make of it
- relations are not determined by anarchic structure
International relations are ‘inter-subjective’
- states and other actors are subjects, not objects
- more than ‘strategic interdependence’
- shared understandings as inter-subjective knowledge
Agents and structures ‘mutually constitute’ one another
- no ‘ontological priority’ to agents or structures
- non-reductive approach
- not a causal or temporal issue
Structures are social and material
- distribution of material power is not the sole meaning of structure
- norms, rules, and principles can structure relations – distribution of ideas’
Leading Hypothesis (Causal Mode)
Relations of amity and enmity emerge out of experienced interactions
- contra realism, dist. of power does not create ‘power struggles’
- contra liberalism, interests are not separate from identities
- changes in structure emerging out of interaction of agents
- changes in agents’ conduct emerging out of structure
Collective Intentionality (Searle)
- shared understandings as other than sum of individual understandings
o human rights beliefs
Normative Transposition (Sewell)
- apply norm in one context to another
- logic of appropriateness v. logic of consequences
- norms regulate behavior
- norms as appropriate conduct for given identity
- shared identity creates shared interests
- not consequentialist process
- communication of ideas, not reconciliation of interests