Constructivism and Post-Structuralism

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Constructivism obscures the politics already involved in representing reality. This is at the heart not only of constructivism's success but also of the celebration and despair it triggers. Those wary of constructivism object to the exclusion of challenging and thought-provoking questions about politics and the political.


Wendt's, Kratochwil's and Onuf's approaches take given realities as their starting points, but this also seems to be a key part of the constructivist project more broadly.
According to Stefano Guzzini, constructivism acknowledges 'the existence of a phenomenal world, external to thought'. (Guzzini, 2000, 147-82) It does not deny 'a reality to the material world', (Adler, 1998, 156-62) as Emanuel Adler and Michael Barnett put it. Adler also asserts that constructivism opens up 'the objective facts of world politics, which are facts only by human agreement', as new areas for empirical investigation. (Adler, 1997, 319-63)
Definitions of constructivism frequently stress the dual character of social and material world. Social constructions, in this conceptualisation, must refer back to and hook up with a pre-existing materiality. Adler argues that the material world shapes human interaction and vice versa. (Adler, 1997, 319-63) Jeffrey Checkel says that 'the environment in which agents/states take action is social as well as material'. (Checkel,, 1997, 473-95) These descriptions invoke a duality of the social and the material and thereby claim an existence independent of representations for the material realm. ...
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