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PSCI 2601 (3)
Chapter 9

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Political Science
PSCI 2601
Mark Pearcey

Chapter 9: Social Constructivism 1. What were the silences of the neo-realism and neo- liberalism? a. Neither contemplates the possibility that ideas and norms might define their interests. (Both ascribed to materialism and individualism) 2. How did international relations scholars use critical and sociological theory to address important issues overlooked by neo-realism and neo-liberal institutionalism? a. Sociological: emphasized how structures constrain and constitute (construct) the identities and interests of actors; Critical: uncover the power behind seemingly value-neutral concepts such as sovereignty and recovering the meanings that actors give to their activities. 3. What is the core of constructivism? a. There is commitment toward the idealism {take seriously the role of ideals in world politics. The world is defined by material and ideational forces} and holism {recognizes that agents have some autonomy and their interactions help to construct, reproduce, and transform those structures} ~~~ according to Wednt 4. Do you find constructivism a useful approach for thinking about world politics? Refer to3. a. Actors are not born in a vacuum: i. States operate in a system conditioned by social behaviour 1. Ex. States are born into a system define by sovereignty b. Reality is culturally and socially bound: i. Social reality is constructed by states 1. Ex. Sovereign is conditioned by the society of states c. Reality as a social fact: i. Social reality is assumed as fact, and defines behaviour 1. Ex. Sovereignty is a social construct, but assumed as reality in order for the system to operate 5. Do you agree that we should try to understand how actors make meaningful their behavior in world politics/ enough to examine behavior? a. Agents may influence social behaviour, they cannot change it individually (h) b. How we perceive the world, and the assumptions we make about it, affects behavior (i) i. ‘Anarchy is what states make of it’ 6. How are meanings fixed in world politics? a. Derive from culture, constructivists argue that that culture informs the meanings that people give to their action/ presumed the meanings coming from hardened culture.||| Meanings are fixed- they have consequences for the ability of people to determine their fates, suggests an alternative way of thinking about power. 7. Do you think that constructivism adds richness and complexity at the expense of our desire to understand patterns in world politics? a. The forces of power got beyond the material, they also can be ideational; 8. What sort of relationship can exist between rational choice and constructivism? a. Constructivism, concerned with how to conceptualize the relationship between agents and structures. Best compared with rational choice (offers framework for understanding how actors operate with fixed preference that attempt to maximize under a set of constraints. 9. What do you t
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