Intro present to explaining International relations was neorealism which


In recent years International Politics has been flooded with
many different theories which attempt to explain how and why the interractions
between to bodys occur. But one relatively new theory which has stood out
against the rest is social constructionism. Developed as result of the downturn
of realism after the cold war social constructivism stands out as its theories
are vastly different from those who came before. By the end of this essay I will
have explored the rise of of social constructivism from
the 1980’s upuntill the present day.

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Before the emergence of social constructivism…..

The rise of social constructivism began in the 1980’s
sparked by the end of the cold war. When the Berlin wall fell down in 1989 and,
what was formally known as the Soviet union collapsed it changed the world both
physically and theoretically in terms of international relations (). During the
cold war the main theory present to explaining International relations was neorealism
which argued that “there was a clear pattern of power balancing between two
blocs, led by the United States and the Soviet Union respectively” but however
with the dismantled soviet union and the cold war at an end the situation completely
changed. In terms of neorealist, this change lead to their theory having its
validity questioned as its had failed to consider what would occur in the
fututure after the end of the cold war in terms of the future balance of power.

Neorealist believe in two counteracting forces which balance
power – the USA and the soviet union. But with the soviet union no longer in existence,
neorealist believed that a new power would rise up to be the opposing force
against the USA but this did not occur. Whilst Waltz arugues that it could
eventally happen ‘tomorrow'(2002)and othe neorealist such as Christopher Layne beliving
that it could take over fifty years  before Japan and Germany are able to balance agaist
the US (1993)but to this day  no country
has balanced against the US.  Even though
some neore

alist were still highly confident that their theory remained
highly relevant, the end of the cold war lead to a reduction in the amount of
hegemony neorealism had over the theories of international relations. At the
same time, whilst the end of the cold war was a downturn for neorealist, it also
provided constructionist with a platform.

Constructionism was introduced in to the relm of
international relations with Micholas Onuf who coined the term since then it
has come to the foreground as an alternative to theories such as realism and liberalism
because as a theory constructionist has an issue with liberalist and realist
thinking and also has siginificantly diffrtrnt beliefs to them. Constructionist
aruge that the downturn of neorealism is a result of their theory being too
materialist and instead thr focous should be on thpughts and ideas which provides
an better explanation about anarchary and the balance of power.

Unlike realist or liberalist, ” constructionist focus on
ideas of norms, the development of structure,the realatiinship between actors
and said structures, as well as how identity influences actions and behaviour
amongst and between actors” which many has argued to be unscientific and

It is argues that one of the most important aspect of
international realations is social and not material which neorealist advocate. They
also argue that social lreality is not an objective way of observing international

Constructivism as a social theory can
be broken down into different groups, whilst substantive internatonlanal
relations theory is a theory about some aspects of international relations,
social theory  concentraints on the social
world,social action and the relationship that takes place between structures
ant the actor. Constructivism is made up of social theory and many different
substansive theories about international realations but for the conteex of this
essay the main focus will be on constructivism as a social theory. One of the
main focuses of of social theory is its emphasize on the social construction of
life which included “international relations, consist of thought and ideas and
not essentially of material conditions or forces”

The method used by Constructivies is
an empericle approach which focuses on the ideas within IR theory which helps
define it. As a rule Construcrivist cannot follow mechanical positivist concenptions
of casulity because positivist do no focus on the intersubjective context of an
situation. This can be dispayed in this example “the well-known billiard
ball image of international is rejected by constructivists because it fails to
reveal the thoughts, ideas, beliefs and so on of the actors involved in
international conflicts”. In this case positivist would
have accepted this example because they do not look toward the inner working
behind a situation or person. In this case a Constructioist would want to look
inside a billard balls inorder to gage a deeper understanding of the conflict.

Constructionist tend to reject the
objective truth  as they believe thatg
there cannot be one objective truth that would apply across all situation but however
constructionist do make true clames which they have developed about a subject
theat they are currently looking into hilst at the same time stating that there
truths are only there interpretations of what they believe to be truths in a
world so complex. But however this is not consistant across all of constructivism
as this is only the conventional construcrivist view which which represents
scolars such as Alexander Wendt (1999), Peter Katzenstein (1996b),
Christian Reus-Smit (1997), John Ruggie (1998), Emmanuel Adler and Michael
Barnett (1998), Ted Hopf (2002), and Martha Finnemore (2003).

The other form of Constructionism is
critical construction which we now know as postmodernism  and they argue that truth clames are not
possible because there is not situation where we can decide what is true and
what is not and what we call truth is linked to a more dominant theory anout the
world which seporates truth and power into two different categories. But howeve
the main focus of critical constructionism is the look at the relationship
between truth and power and tp criticise theorys that argue that there truth
means truth for all