Examples Of Constructivism In International Relations 1266 Words 6 Pages In this paper, I have attempted to present an understanding of Pakistan-India conflict by using constructivism theory of international relations. Constructivist theory criticises the static assumptions of traditional international relations theory and emphasizes that international relations is a social construction. Ganjar Nugroho, ˝Constructivism and International Relations Theories ˛,Global & Strategis, Th. This stance differs considerably from that of realists, who argue that the anarchic structure of the international system determines the behaviour of states. Anarchy is what States Make of it: The Social Construction of Power Politics. Our thoughts and actions literally construct international relations. As Wendt (1992) explains, “We…assume too much if we argue that, in virtue of anarchy, states in the state of nature necessarily face a “stag hunt” or security dilemma. For example, when Tibet was annexed by China, Bhutan felt threatened. For example, constructivists would argue that the bulk of states have come together to develop climate change mitigation policies because it is the right thing to do for the survival of humanity. As Reus-Smith (2005) explains, “identities are constituted by the institutional norms, values and ideas of the social environment in which they act” (199). This idea comes with an expectation that some kinds of behaviour and action are more acceptable than others. E-IR is an independent non-profit publisher run by an all volunteer team. In order to read online Constructivism And International Relations textbook, you need to create a FREE account. Adler, E. (1998). Constructivism is a theory critical of the ontological basis of rationalist theories of international relations. Agency can be understood as the ability of someone to act, whereas structure refers to the international system that consists of material and ideational elements. 110, pages 29-46. To date, Bhutan and India perceive each other as friends whereas Bhutan has no official relations with China. Constructivism in international relations — In the discipline of international relations, constructivism is the application of constructivist epistemology to the study of world affairs. Constructivism accounts for this issue by arguing that the social world is of our making (Onuf 1989). The regulation also signifies that these norms are perceived as something good by the Bhutanese authorities, which underlines the prescriptive nature of norms. Adler (1998) says similar when he states that with people, “Where they go, how, when and why, is not entirely determined by physical forces and constraints; but neither does it depend solely on individuals preferences and rational choices. International Organizations, Vol. Zehfuss examines the scholars' role in international relations, worrying that, by looking to constructivism as the future, they will be severely curtailing their ability to act responsibly in this area. However, in recent decades, there has emerged a new theory: Constructivism in international relations is one of the more recent theories in the field, and comes at the heels of existing international relations theories of. Constructivism and realism appear to have taken their places in the literature on international relations theory in direct opposition to each other. The completion of this process entails that the behaviour of the Bhutanese citizens is circumscribed by these norms and practices. Burchill, Scott, & Linklater, Andrew, editors. International Organization, Vol. As we shall see, constructivism focuses on ideas of norms, the development of structures, the relationship between actors and said structures, as well as how identity influences actions and behavior amongst and between actors (Reus-Smit, 2005: 188), as well as how norms themselves shape an actor’s character (Reus-Smith, 2005:198). II, No. It also reinforced the rules for wearing a national dress – the gho for men and the kira for women. There are a number of arguments that constructivists make that differs from realists and liberalists. All content on the website is published under the following Creative Commons License, Copyright © — E-International Relations. Bhutan’s International Presence and the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, Betwixt and Between: Bhutan‘s Royal Way to Democracy and Upcoming Challenges, Climate Change, Adaptation and International Relations Theory, A Brief Overview of Alexander Wendt’s Constructivism, Constructivism and ‘First Encounters’: A Critique. As constructivists in international relations explain, states often act differently based on the identity, interests, culture, and relationship that the states may have with one another. The discipline of International Relations benefits from constructivism as it addresses issues and concepts that are neglected by mainstream theories – especially realism. Instead of undermining other mainstream theories, according to its founder and supporters, constructivism gives broader enlightenment in defining the dynamic of world politics. This discussion of Constructivism is the culmination of the first part of my Intro to IR class taught at Rutgers University in 2015. Self-proclaimed constructivists often have (or at least are seen to have) worldviews that fall within liberalism, broadly defined, and often accept that categoriz… Download Constructivism And International Relations Book For Free in PDF, EPUB. Read as many books as you like (Personal use) and Join Over 150.000 Happy Readers. This change might lead to the establishment of an official relationship, the nature of which is friendship rather than enmity. it is also a matter of their shared knowledge, the collective meaning they attach to their situation, their authority and legitimacy, the rules, institutions and material resources they use to find their way, and their practices, or even, sometimes their joint creativity” (321). Note that the aforementioned theories also correspond to schools of thought in international relations theory because each of them has its own particular group of adherents who have further introduced, developed, and used derivative theories. Constructivism is usually defined as being distinct from either materialism or rationalism, with a wall separating social construction on the one hand from a materialist or rationalist mindset on the other. Liberalists/pluralists, on the other hand, view cooperation through international organizations as possible under an anarchical system; these institutions can help bring about positive gains for state and non-state actors; they are not constrained by the “negatives” of an anarchical international system. Bhutan has also developed a distinctive national identity that differentiates it from its larger neighbours. Of these, the Ngalongs and the Sharchhops are Buddhists, while the Lhotshampas are mostly Hindus who speak the Nepali language. It is true that all three theories recognized that the international system is anarchical; there does not exist an overarching power to govern world affairs. One could argue that the more recent (and colder) relations between the United States and Russia are not because of innate distrust or hatred, but rather, actions between one another (whether it is NATO expansion, Putin’s rights abuses and violations of sovereignty in the Ukraine, etc…) have moved the US-Russian relationship to their current conditions. The book is premised on the notion that the 'empirical' and the 'theoretical' are less separate than is acknowledged in international relations, and must be read as intertwined. It should be noted, though, that the actions of a state should be aligned with its identity. Contrary to conventional constructivists, they are not interested in the effect that this identity has. Indeed, that idea is the source of the name of this theory family. However, in recent decades, there has emerged a new theory: Constructivism in international relations is one of the more recent theories in the field, and comes at the heels of existing international relations theories of realism, liberalism, and marxism (economic structuralism). There are a number of arguments that constructivists make that differs from realists and liberalists. Would we assume, a priori, that we were about to be attacked if we are ever contacted by members of an alien civilization? In addition to this, Dzongkha was selected as the national language of Bhutan. Actions are just actions, it is through the interoperation of these actions that matter for constructivism. For example, an agreement on the border dispute between China and Bhutan could change how both countries perceive each other. Critical constructivists, on the other hand, ask ‘how’-type questions such as how do actors come to believe in a certain identity. This identity projects Bhutan as ‘the last surviving independent Mahayana Buddhist Kingdom in the world’ (Bhutan Vision 2020, 24–25). In the case of Bhutan, we can witness the first phase, norm emergence, in the creation of the Driglam Namzhag by the Bhutanese authorities. Thus, unlike realists and liberals, constructivists allow for attention regarding the “making” of the conditions (Ruggie, 1998: 877); actors do not respond to “given” conditions, they create them. The major thesis of constructivism is that the international system is “socially constructed,” that is, it “consists of,” explains Chernoff, “the ways in which human beings think and interact with one another.”[19] In contrast to realism, for which international relations are … Constructivism and Bhutan’s national interests. In the late 20th century the study of international relations was increasingly influenced by constructivism. Conventional constructivists assume, for instance, that actors act according to their identity and that it is possible to predict when this identity becomes visible or not. Lets Argue! Projecting their country as the last surviving independent Mahayana Buddhist kingdom in the world and as a leader in advancing a holistic and sustainable development paradigm enables Bhutanese authorities to signal their country’s status as an independent sovereign state. For decades, the international relations theory field was comprised largely of two more dominant approaches: the theory of realism, and liberalism/pluralism. Speaking on this, he says in more detail: “Anarchy and the distribution of power are insufficient to tell us which is which. International Relations Monday, September 21, 2015. Members of the Bhutanese elite have also created a second identity, which projects Bhutan as a leader in advancing a holistic and sustainable development paradigm. A state can thus not act contrary to its identity because this will call into question the validity of the identity, including its preferences. Download your free copy here. Any Constructivists do this in everyday international relations settings, or in more particular contexts such as the development of norms in international organizations. For example, realists view anarchy as a condition that leads to state competition for resources, security, and power. This view refers to the nature of reality and the nature of knowledge that are also called ontology and epistemology in research language. This code of conduct is built upon strict observance of vows – such as strong kinship loyalty, respect for one’s parents, elders and superiors, and mutual cooperation between rulers and ruled. Likewise, India has had a hand in Bhutan’s foreign policy. Constructivism, Chapter 8, pages 188-212, in Theories of International Relations, Third Edition. Bhutan’s location is geographically sensitive as the country serves as a buffer state between these major powers, which perceive each other as rivals rather than friends. There is no “logic” of anarchy apart from the practices that create and instantiate one structure of identities and interests rather than another; structure has no existence or causal powers apart from process.” Self-help and power politics are institutions, not essential features of anarchy (394). Constructivism In International Relations. Communicative Action in World Politics. Find out more about this, and many other, International Relations theories with a range of multimedia resources compiled by E-IR. Furthermore, their positions can evolve and shift over time. 1, pages 1-39. The material structural conditions are reflected in its population of approximately 745,000,  a territory that amounts to 38,394 square kilometres, a weak economy and a very small military. Risse, T. (2000). It may tell us more about why things are happening the way they do, but somewhat less about what we should do about it. This is an excerpt from International Relations Theory – an E-IR Foundations beginner’s textbook. Neo-Utilitarianism and the Social Constructivist Challenge. These social relationships represent the ideational structure that originated from the meaning given to the material structure. One of the key points of departure stems from how these different theorists view anarchy. Our thoughts and actions literally construct international relations. Material power and state interest are essentially constituted by ideas and social interaction. What Makes the World Hang Together? If society “forgets” what a university is, the powers and practices of professor and student cease to exist; if the United States and Soviet Union decide that they are no longer enemies, “the cold war is over.” It is collective meanings that constitute the structures which organize our actions” (397). The second phase, norm acceptance, required Bhutanese citizens to accept the Driglam Namzhag, including the national dress and Dzongkha as the national language. However, scholars of these theories disagree on state behavior in this anarchical system. See here for the privacy policy http://internationalrelations.org/privacy-policy/. The policy had severe consequences for the Lhotshampas as Nepali was no longer taught in schools and people who could not prove residence in Bhutan prior to 1958 were classified as non-nationals. Constructivism and the role of institutions in international relations 5 2 This definition has gained a certain consensus, since also the latest state-of-the-art article invokes it (Adler 2002). Constructivism sees the world, and what we can know about the world, as socially constructed. In addition to this, the Chinese leadership claimed, after it annexed Tibet in the 1950s, that Bhutan’s territory was also part of its mainland. Most constructivists, however, position themselves between these two more extreme ends of the spectrum. These are realism, liberalism, and constructivism. This change or reinforcement ultimately depends on the beliefs and ideas held by both states. On top of this, Bhutan shares a national border with the two major powers in Asia: China in the north and India in the south. Although all constructivists share the above-mentioned views and concepts, there is considerable variety within constructivism. Palgrave. Thus, scholars look at how norms emerge (Finnemore & Sikkink, 1998, how they effect states and non-state actors (Finnemore & Sikkink, 1998) (as well as how these norms are then implemented by states internally (Risse, 2000), and “which norms will matter and under what conditions” (Finnemore & Sikkink, 1998: 894). However, constructivists take issue with this position. It also allows Bhutan to increase its international visibility, which is advantageous when tensions run high with and among its neighbours. Subsequently, the United Nations adopted Resolution 65/309, which states that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental goal and that the gross domestic product indicator was not designed to, and does not adequately reflect, the wellbeing of people. To date there remains an ongoing border dispute between Bhutan and China and there have been reports that the Chinese army has made several incursions into Bhutan. By having a dominant focus on the state, traditional theories have not opened much space to observe the agency of individuals. U.S. military power has a different significance for Canada than for Cuba, despite their similar “structural” positions, just as British missiles have a different significance for the United States than do Soviet missiles. They believe that it is possible to explain the world in causal terms and are interested in discovering the relationships between actors, social norms, interests and identities. 2, pages 887-917. For decades, the international relations theory field was comprised largely of two more dominant approaches: the theory of realism, and liberalism/pluralism. Wendt, A. 3, No. And this example is the so-called securitization concept, which was developed by the, so-called, Copenhagen School of international relations. Where do we see the manifestations of constructivism in actual making of international relations. This failure can be linked to some of their core tenets, such as the conviction that states are self-interested actors who compete for power and the unequal power distribution among states which defines the balance of power between them. 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