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Anarchy is what states make of

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Zheren Zhou

on 25 January 2018

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Transcript of Anarchy is what states make of

Anarchy is what states make of
it: the social construction of power politics
——Alexander Wendt(1992)

Law of the Jungle?
Rule without government?
Social organization without hierarchy?
Social Constructivism
Tradition: Rationalism
Social Constructivism
Alexander Wendt
Social Constructivism
"Political Scientist"
"Core Social Constructivist in IR theory"
1st -- scholars who have "been doing the most interesting work in international relations in recent years."

Alexander Wendt(1958- )
International system is socially constructed
social interaction of agents or actors in world politics
state interaction reflects a learning process in which action shapes, and is shaped by, identities, interests and values over time (Griffiths et al. 2009)
International norms and its transformation
Institutions and actors are mutually conditioning entities, etc.
Rationalist views on Anarchy
Co-determination of Institutions and Process

(Flow Chart p.406)
How does the condition of anarchy necessarily define the identities of the actors in the system?

self-help isn’t automatic.
If correct, realism may be wrong about competition and conflict as natural.

Self-help: not a constitutive property of anarchy;
Self-help and competitive power politics may be created through practice over time.

Wendt agrees current system is self-help and difficult to change because:
Once created, system exists objectively and rewards competition, punishes altruism.
Actors want to maintain stable identities once created to avoid costs of change and uncertainty.

Further thinking
Institutional Transformation of Power Politics
Objective of the article &
Strategy for doing it( p.394)

critically examine the claims and assumptions of NR
Self-help and Power Politics -- socially constructed under anarchy
explore 3 ways of transformation of identities and interests
States !
I&I -- Exogenously given

NR: Conflict
NL: Cooperation -- Possible

Hobbes World: Anarchy ---- Power
Three ways to escape:
Institution of Sovereignty
Evolution of Cooperation
Intentional efforts to transform egoistic identities into collective identities
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