Constructivism study guide.docx

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Political Science
Kelly Greenhill

Constructivism • focuses on human awareness or consciousness • interests and identities of actors are changeable and socially constructed o how actors perceive themselves and the goals that they seek depends upon the context • reject strictly materialist focus, but don’t deny it • overarching assumption: individuals construct their own understanding of the world • actors and system are mutually constituted (actorssystem) • assumptions: o structures of human association are determined primarily by shared ideas and their social context as opposed to material focus o states’identities/interests are not structurally determined, but are produced by interactions, institutions, norms, and cultures o reality too is constructed and in a state of flux o effects of international anarchy are not determinate  Wendt, “Anarchy is what states make of it.” • what states want can and will change over time • identity and conflict/cooperation o national interests are a function of a national identity o sources of identity are domestic o convergent national identity cooperation and peace o divergent national identity conflict and war o history of interactions critical in determining reactions of those within the collective Wendt • 3 cultures of anarchy o Hobbesian- no limit on aggression warfare o Lockean- may use violence to advance interests, but will not outright eliminate o Kantian- cooperation with like-minded states peace • “Anarchy is what states make of it.”=> perception of international system • actors and system are mutually constituted • focus on 3 image analysis Legro • emergence of chemical weapons o chemical weapons were used in WWI but not in WWII shows mutual change in norms Finnemore • moral entrepreneurs: committed individuals who happen to be in the right place at the right time to instill their beliefs in larger global structures • 1 image focus Orwell • 3 characteristics of nationalism: the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good or evil and recognizing no other duty than that of advancing interest) o obsession o instability o indifference to reality • 3 types of nationalism o positive (ex: Zionism)—boosting energy o negative (ex: anti-Semitism)—denigrating energy o transferred (ex: pacifism)—energy towards something that doesn’t have an immediate relation to self • nationalism is not patriotism: devotion to a particular place/way of life which one believes to be the best in the world but has no intention to force it upon others Checkel • constructivism is a way of viewing actors’behavior • norms determine behavior, which determines the system (circle) Oye’s recommendations to foster cooperation 1. alter the payoff structure to encourage mutual cooperation over mutual defection through unilateral and bilateral strategies 2. extend shadow of future by making interactions iterated, encouraging diffuse rather than specific reciprocity, and codification of norms and creation of regimes 3. discourage cheating by heightening penalties for defection, instituting collective enforcement and instituting conditional reciprocity 4. increase transparency and increase information flows thereby lowering monetary and transaction costs and encouraging trust 5. rely o
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