Handout – Lecture 4, Marxism
▯ What ideas and social contexts underpin Marxism and Constructivism?
▯ What does it mean to say that a theory is analytic as well as normative?
▯ What is the relationship between agents (actors) and structures?
Assumptions about Constructivism:
Since constructivism is a social theory and a way of orienting oneself to IR, it is difficult to speak of assumptions.
However, we can speak of commonalities of constructivist IR theories:
▯ Highlight change over continuity
▯ IR is social: rules, norms, identities and ideas matter.
▯ International relations is “a world of our making” (Onuf) – actors create the structures that
constrain them (“Anarchy is What States Make of It” – Wendt).
Concepts and Definitions
Most of the relevant assumptions and concepts about Marxism are covered in your textbook.
Power/Knowledge: dominant structures of power and knowledge that, together, shape societies in
particular ways. Power and knowledge are inevitably mutually constituted.