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Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches

Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches (8th edn)

Georg Sørensen, Jørgen Møller, and Robert Jackson
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date: 20 August 2022

p. 1917. Social Constructivismlocked

p. 1917. Social Constructivismlocked

  • Georg Sørensen, Georg SørensenUniversity of Aarhus
  • Jørgen MøllerJørgen MøllerUniversity of Aarhus
  •  and Robert JacksonRobert Jacksonformerly at the University of Boston

Abstract

This chapter examines the social constructivist theory of IR. It first discusses the rise of social constructivism and why it has established itself as an important approach in IR. It then considers constructivism as social theory, and more specifically as both a meta-theory about the nature of the social world and as a set of substantial theories of IR. Several examples of constructivist IR theory are presented, followed by reflections on the strengths and weaknesses of the constructivist approach. The chapter proceeds by exploring constructivist theories of international relations, focusing on cultures of anarchy, norms of International Society, the power of international organizations, a constructivist approach to European cooperation, and domestic formation of identity and norms. The chapter concludes with an analysis of some of the major criticisms of constructivism and by emphasizing internal debates within constructivism.

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