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Constructivism, philosophy: the thesis that the objects of the external world, together with their properties and relations are constructed by the brain to other objects and their relations to us. Constructivist styles are differently strong in their assumptions about the existence and recognizability of an objective, independent reality. See also Autopoiesis, system theory, Luhmann, Maturana.

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Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

 
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Alexander Wendt on Constructivism - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 297
Constructivism/international political theory/Wendt/Brown: During the course of the 1990s constructivism grew in importance, albeit aided perhaps by a certain lack of definition which enabled a great many varieties of nominally constructivist thought to flourish. The publication
of Alexander Wendt's Social Theory of International Politics in 1999(1) - a text explicitly
designed to play the same kind of role for constructivism as that played by Waltz's Theory of
International Politics for neorealism - marked a kind of coming of age for the new approac(...).
Wendt's achievement is to combine a high level of epistemological sophistication with insights
drawn from older traditions of international thought, especially the work of the so-called 'English school' (Dunne, 1998)(2). He develops three different and competing accounts of 'anarchy'
broadly, Hobbesian, Lockean and Kantian - and works through the different kinds of international system that could be expected to emerge under these different accounts (...).
Statism/VsWendt: Wendt's statism has been criticized, and he has been accused of attempting to construct a new orthodoxy by means of a Faustian bargain, producing a critique of conventional international thought that buys acceptance from the mainstream by toning down its criticism of the latter (Kratochwil, 2000)(3).
Brown: This is harsh, although, as a recent forum on Wendt's work demonstrates, it is certainly the case that mainstream writers have been more favourably disposed to its positions than late modernists (Review of International Studies, 2000). In fact, these criticisms, even if accurate, miss the real point: the value of Wendt's work is precisely the promise it offers of bringing the concerns
of international political theory and mainstream international relations theory back together, to the advantage of both discourses.


1. Wendt, A. (1999) Social Theory of International Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2. Dunne, T. (1998) Inventing International Society. London: Macmillan.
3. Kratochwil, F. (2000) 'Constructing a new orthodoxy? Wendt's Social Theory of International Politics and the constructivist challenge'. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 29: 73-101.

Brown, Chris 2004. „Political Theory and International Relations“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Wendt, Alexander
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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