NAME: NUR AMIRA SYUHADA BT AHMAD SOBRI
DR KNOCK TAPIWA ZENGENI
Critically discuss the main ideas of the
constructivist approach to international
In our daily life, we are interconnected with each other when we start to communicate. Actors such as people, ideas and interest allow us to establish relationship. Same goes to the international system, the same concept exist when we try to understand international relation. International relation is a part of international system whereby its concern on the relationship among the world’s government involving the state actors and non-state actors. There are many theories used to explain international relation particularly in their own way such as in Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism, Marxism and etc. Thus, this paper ought to discuss and explain constructivism on the main ideas promote by the constructivist in an international relation. I choose this question because of my understanding is more toward the constructivist approach and I believe that constructivist approach is among the critical field of study that we must clearly understand. Thus, I tried to find sources about the approach of constructivism and there are some useful previous studies that I used as my references. Thus, I tried to answer the question by pointing out the definition of constructivist approach as well as the main ideas brought by the approach. Apart from that, i am also highlighting few examples to strengthen my answer
Constructivism or social constructivism can be clearly defines as a social theory or an approach that has been long used in the field of international relation. Though, it is newly recognised and being practiced by certain people. In our international system, constructivist approach seems to play crucial roles in organizing relationship among states. Based on the definition of international system in one book, “International system is a set of relationship among the world’s states, structured according to certain rules and pattern of interaction”. Thus, it is no doubt that constructivist is a part of international system. What are the main ideas brought by constructivist in international relation matter? The key answers are ideas, norms, identity and social interaction. These four terminologies is reflecting constructivism as a social theory and approach in IR. Fundamentally, constructivist approach focused on the element of social rather than materialistic element as such in Realism. Constructivist argues on realism point of view that material is the key element in understanding international relation. According to Yu –Tai Tsai (2009), constructivism never reject material things but also to complement it with the roles of ideas. This idea will complement the material world through shaping human’s behaviour. Therefore, the evolution of international system exist when actors of the international society and politic promotes cooperative relation independently.
Constructivist mentioned that, social reality is subjective whereby actor’s behaviour creates collective meaning in an international system. Indirectly, the behaviour of actors leads to the creation of norms and identity that shape foreign policy. Unlike realism and liberalism, constructivism isn’t just a social theory but more likely an approach in understanding international relation. This is because; social constructivism to some scholar is a lesson about norms, identity and interaction as a real situation that can provide us with useful knowledge for us to not only understand international relation but to also understand the formation of foreign policy in the eyes of constructivist. Let us consider the following examples that can help us in understanding the main ideas brought by constructivist approach. Gun Story...