Constructivism in International Relations: The Politics of by Maja Zehfuss

By Maja Zehfuss

Maja Zehfuss opinions constructivist theories of diplomacy (currently thought of to be on the leading edge of the self-discipline) and unearths them short of or even politically risky. Zehfuss makes use of Germany's first shift towards utilizing its army in another country after the top of the chilly warfare to demonstrate why constructivism doesn't paintings and the way it ends up in specific analytical results and forecloses others. She argues that students are proscribing their skills to behave responsibly in diplomacy through having a look in the direction of constructivism because the destiny.

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World of Our Making is key in his formulation of a constructivist theory of international relations. This book is a complex exposition which advances by discussing and interpreting philosophy and social theory, that is, by ‘a close reading of texts’ (WOM 22), although Onuf has since provided briefer summaries of his constructivism (CM; C). His approach aims to do nothing less than create a new paradigm for International Relations which takes into account their political character. Onuf wants to make the study of international politics a contribution to social theory and locate it within an operative paradigm of political society (WOM 1; see also 22, 27 and 36).

This does not, however, mitigate the influence of norms and intersubjective context, as authoritative decisions that can be shown to be based on good reasons are different from arbitrary ones (RND 184). Kratochwil thus argues that the role of rules and norms in social life must be ‘radically reconceptualized’. The notion of game in the Wittgensteinian sense provides a useful starting point as rules and norms are not simply the distillation of individual utility calculations but rather the antecedent conditions for strategies and for the specification of criteria of rationality.

The possibility of intersubjectivity is fundamental to Kratochwil’s approach, both for his substantive concerns and for his methodological commitments. The last section of the chapter argues that the reliance on intersubjectivity is itself political and that Kratochwil’s treatment of norms misses at least part of the politics. Chapter 4 again deals with rules, as Onuf’s constructivism is based on them. Onuf’s conceptualisation of rules, like Kratochwil’s, relies on the idea of speech acts. However, the outcome is different.

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