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Lecture notes Oct 12

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
John Haines

Amna Husaith Oct 12 , 2010 POL 208 - Lecture 5 - Questions posted on BB tom morning. No needed research outside the document they have attached. 5 pages max double space. Chose 1 2 options - Due at the beginning of lecture. - Mainstream theories (ie Constructivism) - Constructivism: The essence of this is about human consciousness in international life. Focus on ideasnorms knowledgeculture and a tress all these elements in the making of inter. Politics. Emphasize rule of collectively aid understanding. Considers that human interaction is shaped primarily by ideas and not simply by material factors. These ideas are shared among us. These shared beliefs construct the interests and identities of actors. It focuses on something called social facts- facts that exist only because ppl collectively believe that they exist - Ie social fact: of $20 J it allows you of buying you something worth 20. [Z called a fiduciary instrument: we all trust that this little paper has some value. We all trust that everyone around us will accept this instrument. - * Constructivism is about the social structure of the reality. About the transformation of international politics through social fact - Origins of this theory - Huge in the 80s and 90s. There is one school of international relation that well before 80s had a similar approach of constructivism. However it was called the British school of international affair. It underlined the fact that among states there is something like an international society, a society of states linked by dim relation, common knowledge and practice. The British underlined this common understanding among sates; constructivism will push this much much forward. - Realsists see the world in the same manner and international politics in the same manner; anarchy, survival, self help. So they were useless in understanding in 89, 90. (Cold war?) Their only take of the end of the cold war Soviet Union, was through world war 3 J war between us and soviet change. The idea of peace was in their vocabulary. Constructivism started developing on this very failure. - ^Constructivists see the world as something ]LZ} ZZ} }K]L2ZZL]L2_ - Realizes only have the backbone on international politics, but we are missing the blood and the muscles nerves etc. - If look at 1989, then there were many ways of looking at this event. - Ie the soviet union cannot cope with the massive budget - Constructivism say ur missing the ideas that were exported from west to east, missing process whereby Michael ogvobic started a reform inside the soviet union based on (transparency and reform) ; all these key ides were key to explain end of cold war that came from the west. So the end of the cold war is a matter of changing ideas. And all these ideas came into reality - So constructivists underline the transformations, not only the material capabilities among the super powers. - Same can be said of the transformation of Eastern Europe. - Bottom line about constructivism is that it is focusing on the ideas of reality. They take another look on key concepts on international relations. - Constructivism approach with state and actors are produced and created by their cultural environment, by their history and their history of past interactions. The BA of the state is more
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