The Best Case For Constructivism

2765 WordsApr 24, 201512 Pages
Make the best case for constructivism as an epistemology in international relations. Discuss at least one constructivist work that you believe makes an outstanding contribution. Introduction When discussing constructivism as an epistemology in international relations (IR), it is important to note that there are many definitions, or rather, forms of constructivism in social sciences, especially when it pertains to international relations. Within the field of IR there are many constructivist scholars in both sides of the spectrum; some lean towards a more positivist approach while others remain subjective about the international system. For the purpose of this essay, I contend that constructivism explores the social construct of international relations; in the words of Timothy Dunne ‘International society is a social construction.’ I also argue that in order for IR to be studied it needs to be viewed in subjective terms in order to make sense of the material world. As Emmanuelle Adler put it, ‘Constructivism is the view that the manner in which the material world shapes and is shaped by human action and interaction depends on dynamic normative and epistemic interpretations of the material world.’ Within this essay I will introduce two types of constructivism that I believe work harmoniously to create a symbiosis of epistemological approaches in IR, conventional and consistent constructivism. Both forms of constructivism offer us an epistemological view of IR in terms of

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