Constructivism And Realism And Liberalism Essay

1496 Words Sep 13th, 2015 null Page
Constructivism started out as a critical theory in response to Realism and Liberalism. Realists believe the pursuit of power and relative gains are the motivating factors of states’ actions, while liberalists believe that the pressure of the international system is what pushes states into action. Constructivists say that both of these factors are socially constructed, and therefore not everything is as black and white as it is presented in Realism and Liberalism. The constructivist critique of the other two paradigms are not unfounded or even radically different. As Wendt says, Constructivism shares the five main assumptions of Realism which are that states are rational, the international system is anarchic, states are not fully trusting of one another, and they also have offensive capabilities. The difference in assumptions for constructivists, however, is firstly that material structure is not all determining, secondly, norms and ideas are important, and thirdly, individuals and nonstate actors are the key to the promotion of ideas. Wendt focuses on the first assumption that material structure is not all determining, or in other words, the world is made up of social structures and how states respond to the international system of anarchy is based on shared knowledge, material resources, and practices. Wendt’s statement “anarchy is what you make of it” is a good example of how constructivists view the world. Structure and agency in Constructivism influence each other and…

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