Social Theory of International Politics
Cambridge University Press, 1999/10/07
Drawing upon philosophy and social theory, Social Theory of International Politics develops a theory of the international system as a social construction. Alexander Wendt clarifies the central claims of the constructivist approach, presenting a structural and idealist worldview which contrasts with the individualism and materialism which underpins much mainstream international relations theory. He builds a cultural theory of international politics, which takes whether states view each other as enemies, rivals or friends as a fundamental determinant. Wendt characterises these roles as 'cultures of anarchy', described as Hobbesian, Lockean and Kantian respectively. These cultures are shared ideas which help shape state interests and capabilities, and generate tendencies in the international system. The book describes four factors which can drive structural change from one culture to another - interdependence, common fate, homogenization, and self-restraint - and examines the effects of capitalism and democracy in the emergence of a Kantian culture in the West.
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actors agents anarchy approach argue argument assumptions behavior causal causal and constitutive chapter claim cognitive concept constitutive effects constructivism constructivist cooperation corporate debate define depends desires and beliefs discourse distinction domestic egoistic emphasize empiricist enemy epistemology example exist exogenous explain explanatory external fact foreign policy game theory Hobbesian culture holist human idealist identities and interests implications important individualist individuals interaction interdependence international politics international system Kantian Kantian culture Keohane Lockean culture macro-level material forces materialist matter means multiply realizable national interest natural kinds natural selection needs Neoliberals Neorealism Neorealists norms objective ontology other’s outcomes possibility power and interest presuppose problem properties question rational choice theory rationalist realist reference relationship relatively representations role scholarship scientific scientific realism self-interest sense shared ideas shared knowledge social kinds social structures social theory society sovereignty structural change supervenience theory of international treat unit-level violence Waltz world politics