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Tuesday October 8th 2013 Poli 2F20.docx

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Political Science
Blayne Haggart

Tuesday October 8 2013 Poli 2F20: Midterm = 50 mins Focus on theories and how anarchies link to them Everything up to post-structuralism (including) Exam – outline the main theory of things in a zombie apocalypse Reaction piece: - read abstract – says the main point - read introduction - skip over body, read conclusion Slide 1: What is constructivism? - Constructivism treats ideas as structural factors o “The world is irreducibly social and cannot be decomposed into (merely) actors” - Considers dynamic relationship between ideas and material forces as a consequence of how actors interpret their material reality o “Anarchy is what states make of it.” o “Red means stop.” - Shared mental road maps - No central government over states Slide 2: Constructivism - Interested in how common ideas shape actors, and vice versa (agent- structure debate) o Marx: “People make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.” o A two-way street - Tells us how to act - People make history but not under their own conditions Slide 3: Constructivism: Ideas as structures - Key: Knowledge shapes how actors interpret and construct their social reality o E.g., What is a country? (Benedict Anderson’s “imagined community”) - Normative structures shape identity and interests of actors - Social facts (sovereignty, human rights, nationalities, “terrorism,” traffic light rules) exist because of human agreement o Contrast with brute facts o “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” Slide 4: Constructivism: Ideas/meanings can be changed - Marx: “People make their own history…” - Meanings/identities aren’t always fixed - Consequence: Have to be careful comparing cases across time periods Slide 5: Constructivism: Social rules - Two types of social rules: o Regulative: Manage existing activities  E.g., “icing the puck is illegal” o Constitutive: Define and produce those very activities  E.g., “ice hockey must be played on ice” - Two types of logic (rules): o Logic of consequences (stopping at a red light because you’ll be fined) o Logic of appropriateness (stopping at 2 a.m. because it’s the perceived right thing to do) – legitimacy Slide 6: Uses of constructivist analysis - Constructivism denaturalizes what is taken for granted o How are meanings generated? How might they change? - Power: Not only the ability of one actor to get another actor to do what she would not do otherwise o Also the production of identities and interests that limit actors’ ability to control their fate Slide 7: Constructivism and IR - Constructivism is a social-science - Questions: “How does the structure of international politics construct the identities and interests of states?” - “How can self-reflective states transform the structure of world politics?” - Wendt: “Anarchy is what states make of it.” o Explanation for changes in international society o Explanation for end of Cold War (replaced old structure with a new one) - Can change international politics Slide 8: Constructivism and global change - Investigates global change and transformation - Diffusion: concerned with institutional isomorphism and life cycle of norms o Where do norms come from? o Why are they adopted? “Best practices” or external pressure/incentives? - Consequences of institutional isomorphism and internationalization of norms: o Growing homogeneity; deepening int’l community o Role of power? Slide 9: Zombies & Syria: Neocons, constructivist approaches - Social reality; importance of identity - Syria o C
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