Social Theory of International Politics

Social Theory of International Politics

by Alexander Wendt
     
 

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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…  See more details below

Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Social Theory deserves the distinguished company in which its title implicitly places it. The writing is careful, engaging, and sophisticated, and anticipates and disarms potential critics. All libraries should own this book and all scholars of international relations should read it." E. R. DeSombre, Choice

"A new 'constructivist' approach to international politics has been gaining ground in recent years....A leading figure in this movement, Wendt takes aim at realists and liberals who stress materialist or individualist causes of state action." Foreign Affairs

"The writing is careful, engaging, and sophisticated, and anticipates and disarms potential critics...no one will be able to ignore what Wendt has done. All libraries should own this book and all scholars of internaional relations should read it." Choice

"...Alexander Wendt has provided one of the most sophisticated and hard-hitting constructivist critiques of structural realism. Social Theory of International Politics provides the first book-length statement of his unique brand of constructivism." International Security

"Alexander Wendt's Social Theory of International Politics is one of the most important books of international relations (IR) theory to be published in the past few decades...Wendt's contribution is impressive and deserves consideration by all students of IR, as well as those who seek to understand the role of ideas, norms and culture in political life...Wendt's book systematically tackles a host of devilishly difficult and professionally contested issues with a clear-eyed, eloquent, and original approach...with this extraordinarily thoughtful book, Wendt has made the best analytical case so far for taking seriously the social nature of international politics." Journl of Politics

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781107263710
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
10/07/1999
Series:
Cambridge Studies in International Relations , #67
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
788 KB

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