Alexander Wendt's Constructivism In China

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Over the past few decades, one of the most discussed debates has been about the rapid rise of China. However, it is unclear whether the growth of China will lead to revolutionary political upheavals or to a gradual and non-violent redistribution of the world’s power, most significantly, will China’s rise lead to conflict?

Since Deng Xiaoping took over the leadership of the country, in 1978, the People 's Republic of China has started on the path of domestic reform, opening to the outside world. Four generations of leaders - after Deng was the turn of Jiang Zemin, then Hu Jintao and now Xi Jinping - have led a demographically and geographically immense country and an extremely complex society, which was technologically backward,
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The constructivist approach, according to Wendt, is based on two assumptions: social structures are constituted by ideas and not by the material elements; identities and interests of the actors are influenced by these social structures. Therefore, constructivism can be seen as a kind of "structural idealism" (Wendt, 1999). Unlike the neoliberal theory, constructivism affirms that the most significant international relations aspects depend on society and history (Jackson & Sorensen, 2006). Wendt 's constructivism is state-centred just like neo-realism and neo-liberalism. It differs from these approaches for the rejection of exogenous conception of national interests. The constructivist theory advocates that states do not have pre-formed identities and interests. They are formed in the process of interaction and are transformed under anarchy in three ways: 1) by the institution of sovereignty; 2) by an evolution of cooperation; 3) by intentional efforts to transform egoistic identities into collective identities. In other words, “identities and interests are constituted by collective meanings that are always in process” (Wendt,…show more content…
I have chosen to use neoliberal institutionalism and constructivism theories to analyse the rise of China. By China’s rise, I mean the growth of China’s power to a position of supremacy in the international system. China’s rise has been widely anticipated throughout the 20th century. However, it is only since the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre that there has been evidence that China’s power is actually rising. Neoliberal institutionalism will help clarify China’s understanding of global and regional cooperation in the pursuit of growth and common interests. Employing constructivism will help elucidate how China’s identity has influenced its behaviour in the international
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