Professor creed Hyett
International relations 202
17 February 2014
International relations theory’s
What is a theory? How do theories fit into international relations? A “theory is a set of propositions and concepts that combine to explain phenomena by specifying the relationships among the propositions.” (Mingst and Arreguin-Toft 76) Theories are used to predict and explain why things have happened. When looking at international theories we find ways to help us understand why a nations acted a certain way and predict how they will act in the future. While predicting how an entire nation-state will act is not a simple and easy thing; but rather a complex and difficult task. It takes years of practice and dedication to do this. These theories help to make the process just a little easier when trying to predict what will that happen Internationally or when explaining why it did happen. Which theory is the most effective theory to use when predicting and explaining events and actions of states and individuals on the internal relations level? Constructivism is based off of the “ nature of the state and the concepts of sovereignty, identity and citizenship”. (mingst and Arreguin- Toft 95) “Realism is the product of a long historical and philosophical tradition.” (mingt and Arreguin-Toft 79) When looking at two of the theories constructivism and realism Constructivism is the most effective and therefore the best way to predict what will happen and why it did happen and therefore realism a less effective way to predict and explain things internationally.
“Constructivism’s major theoretical proposition is that neither objects nor concepts have any necessary, fixed, or objective meaning: rather, their meanings are constructed though social interaction.” ( mingt and Arreguin- taft 95) What this means is that people are who they are from the experiences that they go through. Constructivism factors culture gender and race and takes things farther to where other theories have not.. While this theory lets one have more of a lose take on things it brings things into play that are very important. How could one predict what people or nations will do when they don’t factor in what ethnicity they are or what gender? A white male living in America will have a different outlook on things then a Russian living in Russia. The social norms in each of these nations are different their for they have different beliefs rules and social practices.
Ted Hopf gives a great example of what constructivism is really about. He asks the question of what would happen if a movie theater was set on fire. Who would be the first out of the sole exit door in that theater? Would everyone rush to the door and fight for a way out? Would the men who in some countries are superior and thought of as better the more superior gender be the first ones out? Or would the women and children the weaker in strength of the group be the first ones out the door? In order to predict this you would need to know what the social norms are in the area of the movie theater. You would need to know what value they place on gender. Would a certain race be the first ones out the door? To predict this you would need to know what the culture and demographic is of the area that the movie theater is in.
Realism says that “ individuals are organized in states, each of which acts in unitary way in pursuit of its own national interest, defined in terms of power” (Mingst, and Arreguin-Toft 79) It mean that everything is done for power. Ever international move that is made is in search of more power. The state wants to be feared. They go into war