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Lecture 5

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Political Science
POLI 244
Jason Scott Ferrell

Oct 3 rd2012 Constructivism o Society is defined by a set of norms. o Identity formation through socialization and imitation. Think about how this compares to the tit-for-tat problem/prisoners dilemma (this is a game with strategic calculations, whereas socialization is not). How would this explain the advent of nuclear weapons and their spread?*Exam Q  Realist would say: security dilemma, I get weapons, you get weapons, I get more, you get more…  Liberalism would say: Weapons create a situation of parody between nations and this would work as an incentive to co-operate.  Constructivism would say: weapons become a norm, there is a shared understanding of what defines a powerful nation and nuclear weapons become symbolic of a state’s status. They are all just copying each other/imitation. (which may be a vast oversimplification, but that is constructivism)  Problem when people do not copy each other o Legitimacy and cooperation:  International organizations: non state actors that can shape the system and lead states to act in a certain way.  They consider an enforcement mechanism that is voluntary. Legitimacy explains the durability of international institutions  Managerial school of constructionism try to explain issues of defection.  (Problem: set of shared norms that we all agree on, yet clearly there are states/actors that do not follow the norms/act appropriately, how do we explain this?)  Defection/noncooperation is unintentional they say. Highlight the ambiguity that can go with norms/agreements, there is scope for interpretation of norms, therefore there may be different expectations of what the role is/proper behaviour.  Capacity problems. Norms at the international level is often done by states and state actors, but issues of compliance are often left to non-state actors. Presidents make a deal, but it is non-state actors who must follow through with it and they may not have the capability to do so. Therefore noncooperation may not be intentional.  Unforeseen circumstances indicate that there are sometimes extraordinary economic and social changes that make it impossible to comply with norms. Again, noncooperation was an accident. o Problem with this is that it is hard to apply this to domestic level issues. o This reasoning points to something outside of self as an explanation. (external circumstances) o Hierarchy  They do acknowledge the condition of anarchy (Went), but it is what we make o
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