Constructivism.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course
POL SCI 5
Professor
A.Gurowitz
Semester
Fall

Description
I. Introduction o Constructivism rose largely in 80sbecame prominent after Cold War which was a huge event Neorealism & Neoliberalism x explain o In many ways responded to how neorealism & neoliberalism were similar o Emphasize the normative as well as material factors o Look at things like changing ideas and norms, importance of culture look at how norms and ideas shape the identities & interests of states (what neorealist and neoliberals took for granted/assumed- x ask where interest came from) II. What do Neorealism & Neoliberalism have in common? A. States as actors (Neoliberalism gives more room for int’l org. but only as they aid states; states= still central) B. Identity and interests assumed: assumed that nature of anarchy dictates interests of state (neorealistsecurity & survival//neoliberalwealth, survival & security) C. Interests defined materially: assumed states were rational actors maximizing interests defined in material terms (power, security, capability, wealth) o Stress different elements and effects of anarchy Neorealist: potential use of force is ever present in IRaffects char. of state Neoliberals: how to overcome the impediments that anarchy imposes for states hard to keep agreements even if there are common interests o Both assume material interests with rational states pursuing them D. Role of institutions Strong neorealist: powerful states create institutions to strengthen/ maintain power or because it’s in their interests to do so o Institutions= extension of state power o Institutions reflect power and its distribution no need to understand anything separate about them o Some realist allow some stickiness and say institutions might stick around without power but not for long Neoliberalism- institutions deal with market failures, there to help states what they want to do though that is assumed o This similarity is why constructivist emerged; frustrated with the limits of what IR looks at III. Constructivists respond A. Ideas matter- Need to look at ideas Ex. Gorbachev revolutionized foreign and domestic policies by embracing new ideas o Why states engage in humanitarian intervention –sometimes it wasn’t just humanitarian but some are very hard to explain in material terms, why ban certain weapons and for the most part abide by them when it o Why does Canada X view USA as threat? B. Interests come from identities o Contrasts with Neorealism & Neoliberalism on ideas and interests 1. ideas, norms, cultures matter (material factors don’t explain everything)- system of shared beliefs ideas can have a powerful impact on state actions NOTE some similarly to traditional liberals (democratic peace liberals) because they argued that this shared set of values-democracy- impact how states interacted with each other Why do ideas impact behavior? a. material resources only acquire meaning when we distribute meaning to them Ex. Cuba and Canada both medium sized powersX explain balance of power in N. America, can’t explain just by looking at power distribution, need to look at shared values and ideologies b. stress the impact/importance of ideas and norms on the identities of political actors/states ideas shape how the actors act Ex) norms of European international society dictates that only Christian monarchies were legit –today changed 2. Interests are derived from identity –what I want is a function of who I am (don’t assume interests are the same across all times, all actors) Ex. In the age of absolutism where states had a specific identiy (Christian monarchy) states had an interest in controlling religion within territory, today, states with the identity of liberal democracy encourages interests of free market capitalism, intolerance of authoritarian regimes *IDinterestsbehavior (constructivist) Interestsbehaviors (neorealist) InterestInternational institutions intervenebehavior (neo liberal institutionalist)-institution to help the common interests of states o Strands of Constructivism A. Systemic constructivism (Wendt) Assumes structure of the international system determines interest in actors (logic of anarchy determines security & survival-what Waltz assumes; to always have enough power in a self-help system)  but Wendt wants to challenge that that’s
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