Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Constructivism in International Relations
Constructivism in international relations (IR) refers to a family of theoretical approaches that share three analytical focal points in appraising world politics: intersubjectivity, the mutual constitution of agents and structures, and the double hermeneutics (i.e., the interpretation of interpretations). Heavily inspired by sociological thinking, constructivism is not a substantive theory of international politics in the same way that neorealism is, for instance. In the IR discipline, constructivists generally seek to redress the lack of attention given to social factors in political life, which characterizes rationalist utilitarian models. Starting from the premise that world politics basically consist of social relations, constructivist scholars believe that international politics are not fundamentally different from other spheres of human activity, where practices are produced, reproduced, and contested inside a meaningful and patterned social context. Although constructivism emerged 5 decades ago in philosophy, sociology, and anthropology, it did not reach the field of IR until the ...