Constructivism in International Relations (Polw-Master-MR-3 und MR-4 und IPIR-3)


The seminar commences with a critical appraisal of Alexander Wendt’s Social Theory of International Politics, since this is not only one of the most widely processed and reviewed constructivist works in the field of IR, but also makes use of a sophisticated concept of culture and is essential for gaining a constructivist understanding of culture and ideas in international politics. Wendt’s theory offers intriguing insights into the ‘structure’ of international politics. However, Wendt has been criticized for a number of reasons, which will be the focus of the second part of the seminar. In the third part, we will develop further the concept of collective identity in international relations. We will explore its constitutive effects on interests and the possibility of identity transformation in the process of social interaction. We will also expound a method of analyzing processes of institutionalization from a constructivist perspective. On the basis of the theoretical and methodological presuppositions developed in the seminar we will investigate the process of institutionalization three illustrative cases. Agenda 10.4.2012 Introduction (Wendt 1999, ch. 1) 17.4.2012 Wendt’s Scientific Realism and the role of ideas (Wendt 1999, ch. 2 & 3) 24.4.2012 Structure, agency and the role of the state (Wendt 1999, ch. 4 & 5) 1.5.2012 Labour day 8.5.2012 Culture and change (Wendt 1999, ch. 6 & 7) 15.5.2012 General critique (Guzzini/Leander 2006, ch. 1-3) 22.5.2012 Wendt’s philosophy (Guzzini/Leander 2006, ch. 4-5) 29.5.2012 Identity in Wendt’s work (Guzzini/Leander 2006, ch. 6-7) 5.6.2012 The problem of structural change (Guzzini/Leander 2006, ch. 8-9.) 12.6.2012 Discourse and change I: The European Union (Literature t.b.a.) 19.6.2012 Discourse and change II: East Asia (Literature t.b.a.) 26.6.2012 Summary and conclusions




Required Reading: Guzzini Stefano, Leander, Anna (2006) Constructivism in International Relations. Alexander Wendt and his Critics. London/New York: Routledge. Wendt, Alexander (1999) Social Theory of International Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.