Social Theory of International Politics: Is It a Good Alternative on Established Theories in International Relations?

Social Theory of International Politics

Is it a good alternative on established theories in international relations?

1811 Words

Maxim de la Haije (2509740)

VU University
Political Analysis
Dr. Paul Pennings
Amsterdam, 28 June 2013
In recent decades, many approaches have emerged which all try to clarify the processes of international relations as best as possible. Alexander Wendt, a staunch supporter of the social constructivist school, developed the ‘Social Theory of International Politics’ to explain this process, this theory is based on social constructivism. His works can be seen as a response to the theory developed by Waltz, which provided the basis for the neorealist school. This new approach to international relations is increasingly gaining ground and can be seen as a important contribution towards existing theories of international relations.
Wendt felt that the existing theories in international relations were too restrictive and too much adherence to guidelines. He thinks out of the box and is in certain areas very rebellious. He beliefs that realism misses the inter subjectively shared ideas which shape behaviour by constituting the identities and interest of actors. Wendt (1999) sees the international system as a social construction. In his works he emphasizes the role of shared ideas and norms in shaping state behavior. Liberal and realist perspectives aim that materialist or individualist reasons causes actions by states. Wendt however, thinks that the social relationships between states are reason for the determining of international politics.
In this paper I will focus on the differences in concept between the mindset of Hay and Wendt with respect to international relations. At first I will clarify and explain the theory which Wendt has developed . Secondly I will clarify and explain the institutionalist theory which   Hay has developed. Then I will try to describe Hay’s response towards the theory of Wendt....