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In: Handbook of International Relations

Chapter 5: Constructivism and International Relations

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Constructivism and International Relations
Constructivism and international relations

In this chapter I will explore where constructivism came from, what brings constructivists together–and thus sets them apart from adherents of other international relations (IR) approaches–what divides constructivists, and where constructivism is and should be going. In particular, I will show that constructivists deal extensively with metaphysics and social theories less for their own sake than because constructivism provides a firm basis for building better IR theories.

In addition, I will argue that despite the divisions among constructivists concerning serious issues, all constructivists (modernist, modernist linguistic and critical)–with the exception, perhaps, of the extreme postmodernist wing of radical constructivism–share two understandings: what Stefano Guzzini (2000: 149) summarized as the social construction of knowledge and the construction of social reality. ...

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