Social constructivism



The new theoretical approach of social constructivism was introduced to the study of International Relations at an appropriate time in history. Theorists in International Relations began to gradually include the implications of a social constructivist approach to the study of the discipline, nearly two decades ago. International theory had been developed during the time of the Cold War. The persistent tension between the United States and the Soviet Union had an immense influence on the discipline of International Relations. It underscored conflict as a defining feature of the discipline, and the improbability of the emergence of a peaceful world. The view of international relations as a function involving anarchy and social disorder continued to be maintained by both realists and neoliberal institutionalists “who provided the dominant theoretical approaches to the study of international relations”. The fall of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War could not be explained by International Relations theorists who conceptualized anarchy as an essential part of the discipline and failed to predict these developments. Against this background, constructivism had a revolutionary impact on the formulation of International Relations. “Social constructivism provides a new way of looking at and conceptualizing the world that, potentially has significant consequences for all ongoing theories in international relations”. Social constructivism is based on a more dynamic, less static approach.