Social Constructivism In International Relations

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Constructivism: Wendt, Finnemore, Hopf

Social constructivism primarily seeks to demonstrate how the core aspects of the international relations are contrary to the assumptions of Neorealism and Neoliberalism within the frame of social construction, taking up forms of ongoing processes of social practice and interaction.
Wendt makes the following statement regarding the tenets of Constructivism:

“The structures of human association are determined primarily by shared ideas rather than material forces and the identities and interests of purposive actors are constructed by these ideas, rather than given by nature”. (Wendt, 1995)

Social constructivism extends the constructivist ideology into various social settings, where groups construct knowledge
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The social cognition model states that culture is the prime determinant of individual development, as humans are the only species to have created culture.
In fact, the end of the Cold War meant that a new intellectual space was created for scholars to challenge existing theories regarding international politics. Therefore, constructivists tried to show how the social science could help the great scholars of international relations understand the importance of identity and norms in world politics. Constructivists demonstrated how the attention to norms and states identities could help discover important issues that were neglected in the past by neo-realism.
Constructivists are focused on the human consciousness, considering ideas as being structural factors. The relationship between ideas and material forces is regarded to be a dynamic one, being a consequence of actor’s interpretation of their reality. Constructivist’s substantial and wide-ranging influence derives from the fact that what it is said seems to be just common
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(Wendt, 1995)
Conversely, Martha Finnemore has proposed another version of constructivist in her 1996 book, “National Interests in International Society”.
State behaviour is defined by identity and interest. Identity and interests are defined by international forces, that is, by the norms of behaviour embedded in international society. The norms of international society are transmitted to states through international organizations. They shape national policies by ‘teaching’ states what their interests should be. (Finnemore, 1993)
Finnemore’s analysis focuses on three case-studies: the adoption of science policy bureaucracies by states after 1955; states’ acceptance of rule-governed norms of warfare; and states accepting limits to economic sovereignty by allowing redistribution to take priority over production values. (Finnemore,
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