Constructivism in International Relations: The Politics of Reality

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 25, 2002 - Political Science - 289 pages
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Maja Zehfuss' book offers a fundamental critique of constructivism, focusing on the work of Wendt, Onuf and Kratochwil. Using Germany's shift towards participation in international military operations as an illustration, she demonstrates why each version of constructivism fails in its own project and comes apart on the basis of its own assumptions. Inspired by Derridean thought, this book highlights the political consequences of constructivist representations of reality. Each critique concludes that constructivist notions of key concepts are impossible, and that this is not merely a question of theoretical inconsistency, but of politics. The book is premised on the notion that the 'empirical' and the 'theoretical' are less separate than is acknowledged in international relations, and must be read as intertwined. Zehfuss examines the scholars' role in international relations, worrying that, by looking to constructivism as the future, they will be severely curtailing their ability to act responsibly in this area.
  

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Contents

Acknowledgements
xi
List of abbreviations
xiii
Introduction
xv
Constructivism in International Relations
xvi
Three constructivisms
10
German military involvement abroad
23
Plan of the book
33
Identity change? Wendts constructivism and German military involvement abroad
38
Words making the world
153
The normative effects of speech acts
171
success and failure
178
The politics of words and worlds
186
The politics of reality Derridas subversions constructivism and German military involvement abroad
196
The impossibility of pure presence and the politics of the real
197
The reality of international politics
207
Everyday reality
222

The identity move
39
Collective identity
56
Collective identity reconsidered
63
The identity of identity
84
Intersubjectivity and the normative Kratochwils constructivism and German military involvement abroad
94
The significance of the normative
95
Norms as the basis of intersubjectivity
118
The politics of intersubjectivity and the normative
135
Words and world Onufs constructivism and German military involvement abroad
151
Reality as raw material
236
The politics of constructivism
245
The politics of constructivism
250
Responsibility in international relations
254
Constructivism reality International Relations
259
Bibliography
264
Index
281
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

MAJA ZEHFUSS is Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Warwick.

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