Epistemology comparative political science

Classified in Social sciences

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Constructivism: Main scholars: Alexander wendt. Emerged in 1980s as alternative to neo realism and neo liberalism. IR is a social construction not an objective discipline. Mutable reality, no material world independently of human perception and cognition (I. Kant). Critical and normative view of IR. Links with idealism and Marxism. No external, objective reality as such, Rejection of Hobbesian state of nature. Social phenomena are humanly and socially constructed. Subjective rather than objective view of human phenomen. From Explanatory to Constitutive Theory. Rejection of positivist individualist ontology. Conservation of positivist epistemology based on observation and testing (like realism and liberalism). Social constructivist. Criticism of static assumptions of mainstream IR. Role of ideas, norms and perceptions. Importance of social rules and inter-subjective meanings.Social actions do not have an ‘objective existence ’.Rationality as a function of a ‘dominating discourse’.Prevailing societal norms, values, perceptions.Focus on agents and their subjectivity rather than structure.‘Anarchy is what states make of it’.Conventional constructivism and the state. states are principal units of analysis, not black boxes, don’t have the same interests.Identities are products of social beliefs and practices,historical,political,social,interests determined by prevailing social interests, cultural factors. dramtic changes in beliefs , state policy, identities are possible. The role of ‘cultural elites’ and ‘epistemic communities’.Not a necessary a linear and causal relationship between independent (identity) and dependent variable (state behavior). Societal identities shape state interests and policies.Status quo or Revisionist as “subjective identities”.Dynamic and mutable nature of state interests and actions.Social identities (subjective factors) count! Revising the Liberal Democratic Peace. ‘If democracies do not fight with one another, is because the way they perceive one another’.From ‘International Regimes’ to ‘Security Communities’.From conventional to critical constructivism.Material interests are not immutable, transparent, and uncontested.They are shaped by prevailing societal identities Societal identities rather than anarchy and nation-states.Dynamic rather than static nature of agents’ actions.Critical (Consistent) constructivism: Social ontology and social epistemology (rejection of positivism).Not the state identity but cultural and linguistic labels and bias. Beginning of dynamic turn in IR theory.Embracement of subjective view of IR. Replace realism and revise liberal theory. Re-consideration of DP argument. The role of domestic politics but also of societal identities, and culture. ‘If democracies do not fight with each other, it must be because of the way they perceive each other’Cultural and Security Communities.Distinction between conventional (mainstream IR) and critical (or consistent)constructivism.

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