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Constructivism - Although there are various versions of constructivism, they share a common concern with how ideas define

the international structure. How ideas define the international structure? How this structure shapes identities, interests, and foreign policies of states? How states and non-state actors reproduce the structure and at time transform it? Constructivism is a social theory and not a substantive theory of international politics Social theory concerned with how to conceptualize the relationship between agents and structure. How should we think about relationship between states and the structure of international politics? Substantive Theory offers specific claims and hypotheses about patterns in world politics How do we explain why democratic states tend not to go war on one another? For instance, constructivists have different arguments regarding the rise of sovereignty and the impact of human rights norms on states. In order to generate substantive claims, scholars must delineate who are the principal actors, what are their interests and capacities, and what is the content of the normative structures. Constructivism is compared to rational choice theory It is a social theory that offers no framework for understanding how actors operate with fixed preferences which they attempt to maximize under a set of constraints. It makes no claims about the content of those preferences It offers no claims about the actual patterns of world politics Constructivism is about human consciousness and its role in international life. [John Ruggie] According to Wendt, idealism and realism are the cores of constructivism. Rational Choice and Constructivism Rational Choice Actors Pre-social Interests fixed Effect of the environment Constrain and regulate the actions of already constituted actors Logic of consequences Constructivism Social Constructed by Environment and interactions It can constructs the actors identities and interests Logic of appropriateness

Some scholars looked for possible link. Finnemore and Sikkink (a) strategic social construction

Actors attempt to change the norms that subsequently guide and constitute state identities and interests Human rights naming and shaming those who violate and encouraging states that this is the right thing to do (b) Relationship between the normative structure and strategic behavior Use constructivism to identify how identity shapes the states interests and then turn to rational choice for understanding strategic behavior Cultural context shapes not only identities and interests of actors but also the strategies they use as they pursue their interests Not all is fair in love, war or any other social endeavor. Idealism: They take seriously the role of ideas in world politics. These ideas are not similar to beliefs or psychological states that reside inside our heads. Instead, these ideas are social. Our mental maps are shaped by collectively held ideas such as knowledge, symbols, language, and rules. Idealism does not reject material reality but instead observe that the meaning and constructions of that material reality is dependent on ideas and interpretation. Holism/structuralism: The world is irreducibly social and cannot be decomposed to the properties of already existing actors. It recognizes that agents have some autonomy and their interactions help to construct, reproduce, and transform those structures. How do you separate constructivism to rational choice theory? Core observation: social construction of reality Actors are not born outside and prior to society. Instead, actors are produced and created by their cultural environment. For example, what makes an Arab? Reality does not exist out there waiting to be discovered; instead, historically produced and culturally-bound knowledge enables individual to construct and give meaning to reality. The constructed reality often appears as objective reality, which relates to the concept of social facts. Social facts are dependent on human agreement. Money, refugees, terrorism, human rights, and sovereignty are social facts. *Their existence depends on human agreement, they will only exist so long as that agreement exists, and their existence shapes how we categorize the world and what we do. What is viewed as legitimate action? Logic of consequences attributed actions to the anticipated costs and benefits Logic of appropriateness how actors are rule-following, worrying about whether their actions are legitimate *what is viewed as appropriate and legitimate can affect the possible costs of different actions; the more illegitimate a possible course of action appears to be, the higher the potential costs for those who proceed on their own. What are taken as granted? 1. Origins of social constructs that now appear to us as natural and are now part of social vocabulary. Sovereignty does not exist before. It was a product of historical forces and human interactions that generated new distinctions regarding where political authority is resided. 2. Alternative Pathways

Anarchy is what the states make of it Alexander Wendt Different beliefs and practices will generate divergent patterns and organization of world politics Mahatma Gandhi vs Osama bin Laden 3. How actors make their activities meaningful We are cultural beings with the capacity and the will to take a deliberate attitude toward the world and to lend it significance - Max Weber Constructivists attempt to recover the meanings that actors give to their practices and the objects that they construct. Meanings derive from culture rather than, as rationalist believed, constrain action. Constructivists argue that culture informs the meanings that people give to their action. *development, human rights, security, humanitarian intervention, sovereignty Constructivists view of power (a) The forces of power go beyond material, they also can be ideational. There is direct relationship between legitimacy and course of action. The greater the legitimacy the easier time they will have convincing others to cooperate with their policies (b) The effects of power go beyond the ability to change behavior Power also includes how knowledge go beyond the ability to change behavior For example, the definition of development Constructivists and Social Science They reject the unity of science, that is, that the methods of the natural sciences are appropriate for understanding the world. They argue that the objects of the natural and social world are different in once crucial respect: subject knows herself through reflection Humans reflect on their experiences and use these experiences to inform their reasons for their behavior. What necessitates a human science is the need to understand how individuals give significance and meaning to their actions Max Weber advocated that scholar employ vershten to recreate how people understand and interpret the world. Scholars need to exhibit empathy, to locate the practice within the collectivity so that no one knows how this practice or activity counts, and to unify these individual experiences into objectively, though time-bound, explanations Casuality and Explanation Constructivists have a slightly different meanings from conventional usage Popular view casuality is that IV and DV are unrelated and that a cause exists when the movement of one variable precedes and is responsible for the movement of another variable. Constructivists argued that structures have a casual impact because they make possible certain kinds of behavior and thus generate certain tendencies in the international system. For example: Sovereignty does not cause states to behave in one particular way but it produces them and invests them with certain capacities that make possible certain kinds of behavior. Constructivists reject that explanation requires discovery of timeless facts.

Karl Popper the search for timeless facts in the human sciences will be forever elusive because of the ability of humans to accumulate knowledge of their activities, to reflect on their practices and acquire new knowledge, and to change their practices as a consequence. Constructivists and Methods Ethnographic and interpretative techniques create meanings that actors bring to their practices and how these practices relate to the social world Quantitative studies demonstrate the emergence of a world culture that spreads specific practices, values and models. Genealogical methods to identify the contingent factors of world politics Structured and focused comparisons to understand the conditions under which norms diffuse from one context to another Constructivism and Global Change (a) Diffusion how particular models, practices, norms, strategies, or beliefs spread within a population Institutional isomorphism those organizations that share the same environment will, over time, resemble each other. Institutionalization of norms or life cycle of norms norms do not simply erupt but evolve through a process e.g. international humanitarian law began in the late 19th century and then slowly spread and became increasingly accepted over the next several decades regarding how to minimize the horrors of war. Conclusion Challenges the received wisdoms and opens up a new line of inquiry It offers