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Sept 24 Postmodernism and Constructivism.docx

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Political Science
POLI 260
Allen Sens

Postmodern + Constructivism - Principles of constructivist/modernist thought - Identify postmodern + constructivist views of global politics - Explain the relevance of postmodern and constructivist concepts Postmodern thought Roots: o Michel Foucault o Jacques Derrida o Frankfurt School (1920s) Jurgen Habermas, Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno - Critics of Positivism - “Through knowledge and understanding you can uncover facts relating to the neutral objective world” - “What we think are facts are a product of how we perceive that world” o World is viewed from distorting lenses of view: education, society, religion, dominant hegemonic ideas, family Principles of Postmodernism - Subject matter is social in nature, not material; all action, structure, is embedded in socially constructed belief systems o Global politics is socially constructed: it is intersubjective - What we think are objective truths are not – they are a product of belief systems (the chair example) - Subject matter is social, not material - There are no “truths’ o Different experiences cause us to see the world differently o Therefore we cannot build “objective” knowledge about a “real” world - Existence of a “dominant discourse” o Hegemonic belief systems dominate social dialogues and serve to exclude other ideas o As a result, power produces “knowledge” - Deconstruction o Expost the identity biases and belief systems in our “truths” about global politics - “If truths have a history, how can history have truths?” o Eg. World was once thought of as flat The principles of Postmodernism - Postmodern thought and the role of “race” in the Rwandan Genocide o “Hutus” o “Tutsis”  Portrayed in two ways in Western world:  1: just another tribal conflict  2: another instance of historical grievances between two races
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