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Constructivist Approaches in International Relations Theory: Puzzles and Promises

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  • Antje Wiener
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    Abstract

    By raising the question of what made constructivism possible the paper discusses the puzzle and promises of constructivist scholarschip in IR. It is argued that the communicative style which coined constructivism as a movement provides the key. Two puzzles are the focus, first, a lack of epistemological overlap, secondly, a disciplinary culture of consecutive debates which reached their high point of non-communication with the so-called Third Debate. However, while the constructivist movement gathered influence as a reference frame in the late 1990s, it is neither genuine to international relations theory nor does it originate in the 1990s. Why and how did constructivism manage to bring such a diverse group of scholars to one table? Section 2 of the paper develops the argument and introduces the concept of framing to understand the puzzle of conversation in IR. Section 3 recalls the emergence of constructivism, identifies the theoretical discussions and the significant conceptual moves. Section 4 summarizes the value-added and flags ‘norms’ research as the core of constructivist political science.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Bath, Department of European Studies and Modern Languages in its series The Constitutionalism Web-Papers with number p0025.

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    Date of creation: 05 Dec 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:erp:conweb:p0025

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    Web page: http://www.bath.ac.uk/esml/

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    Keywords: international relations; political science;

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    1. Checkel, Jeffrey T., 2005. "International Institutions and Socialization in Europe: Introduction and Framework," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(04), pages 801-826, October.
    2. James Tully, 2006. "A New Kind of Europe? Democratic Integration in the European Union," The Constitutionalism Web-Papers p0021, University of Bath, Department of European Studies and Modern Languages.
    3. Hall, Peter A. & Taylor, Rosemary C. R., 1996. "Political science and the three new institutionalisms," MPIfG Discussion Paper 96/6, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
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