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International relations - contemporary global security - Essay Example

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International relations - contemporary global security

Social constructivism may be a helpful tool in studying international relations. The discussion will be based on the thesis developed by Alexander Wendt: “Anarchy s what the state makes of it”. International relation theory is basically material. Social constructivism brings in a social ‘zest’ to theory of international relation. This research paper considers social constructivism as a perfect alternative for neorealist theory widely applied for international relations. Materialist theory analyzes behavior of states on the basis of material assets distribution. A balanced relation between states is usually measured by distribution of material power. It is relevant to note, that “social constructivists reject this narrow approach to analysis of the states’ power” (Social constructivism). From the perspective of social constructivism, a social aspect of international relations is of crucial importance. This point of view can be explained as follows: politics and society is developed under the influence of human consciousness (Social constructivism). Moreover, international system doesn’t exist separately. There are a lot of external and internal factors influencing on the global system development. Therefore, making analysis of global relations basing on a material basis is a narrow approach and there is a need to apply another theory that is more complex and socially-oriented. Anthropocentric context of the modern world’s development coincides with the ideas of Wendt, whose claim is discussed further on. Basic claims of social constructivism and neorealism applied for international relations The international society exists among people and thus is influenced by people’s ideas and not just by material assets. The system represents the result of human mental activity. As it is explained, the international system is “a set of ideas, a body of thought, a system of norms, which has been arranged by certain people at a particular time and place, a human invention or creation not of a physical or material kind but of a purely intellectual and ideational kind” (Social constructivism). In this paradigm, a claim made by Alexander Wendt “anarchy is what states make of it” (1992) may be interpreted in a different manner: for example, the system stability is questioned for sure. A constructivist theory of international relations should be considered in detail. For example, the main claim of constructivists is that it is possible to observe a correlation between neorealist uncertainty and materialist nature of the theory. Thus, in accordance with the social constructivism, it is better to focus on thoughts and ideas to realize the core essence of theory about anarchy and power balancing (Wendt, 1992). The difference between neorealism and constructivism can be seen in the following explanation of anarchy from these two different perspectives: thus constructivists claim that structures (i.e., factors and regulations which direct social actions) can’t give explanation to the actors’ mechanical activities and neorealists state that “the structure of anarchy is oppressing for the state actors” (Fierke at al, 2001). Thus, we can see that both theories are focused on discussion about interrelation between actors and structures (Booth, 2005). Structures are actors’ constraints, but constructivists claim that structures can act in such a way that structures would be transformed in new directions. Therefore, there is a need to refer to ‘structuration’ which provides with a more flexible vision of structure and actors interrelation (Wendt, 1992). If to apply structural constructivism to international relation theory it will be clearly seen that anarchy should be considered in a less rigid manner. Power and interests of the state are not material factors, but rather are ‘objective entities’ (Wendt, 1992). Moreover, Wendt claims that anarchy doesn’t lead to self-help. The interaction between states is a decisive factor of the ...Show more
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Social constructivism may be a helpful tool in studying international relations. The discussion will be based on the thesis developed by Alexander Wendt: “Anarchy s what the state makes of it”. International relation theory is basically material…
International relations - contemporary global security
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