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Constructivism: Forming States through Ideas

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The world has witnessed drastic changes; from a ‘self-help’ and pessimistic states, conquering each other, defining balances of power, to a ‘cooperative’ and optimistic states, believing that the world order can be achieved through diplomacy. These have been utilized to expound the phenomena; the birth of war. However, history also shows that there are still questions hanging in the air about the sudden end of the cold war (is it true?), which strengthens the rise of constructivism, a theory revolving around the human consciousness of individuals or actors of states—primarily about norms, the development of structures, the relationship between the two, implies that this theory is like an approach or a movement crafted by actors depending on their behaviour and interests to come up with their identity; a theory of fellowship and union.

Basically, constructivism emphasizes on ideational forces such as ideas, knowledge, norms, and rules to understand the origins of state interest. However, these ideas, knowledge, norms, and rules are changing over time. There will be additions and subtractions. There are things that will be omitted and changed. With that, for instance, a certain state embodies this kind of approach, emphasizing on the ideas, norms and rules, can be considered by other states’ as either a friend or an enemy, swinging in both possibilities, because ideas are changing and so are the norms, there is a possibility that this will be the case. Speaking of norms, since it is one of the primary ingredients of constructivism, how would a certain state or actor varies and identifies which norm/s would be the most significant or will be taken as a priority?, given the fact that these so-called norms are already part of social interaction, like something that already dictates and mandates someone to do certain things; something that sets a parameter in various aspects, and what could be the consequences if someone fails to follow such norms? Are these norms all good or bad? Are there any effects to the states? How do these norms were implemented? I would like to leave these questions hanging. Moving on, I see this theory as something that is social and focused on individuals, not on material, as what this theory claims. This can be related to social role—and this is something that can be an interest of a certain state. Speaking of interest, it is tantamount or related to survival, security, and wealth, which are considered as material base. Since there is a presence of Thucydides’ trap, obviously, the potential threat posed by the other will cause to threatening them back. Meaning, potential threats transform security issues.

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Constructivism is also about the relationship between actors and structures. These structures can be related to some institutions or agencies. With this, I would like to comment about this that this theory is somehow assuming on too much agencies. As a result, there will be too much of expectations to achieve change, which is the focus of international relations in social construction. Again, as what I have stated a while ago in the first thought of my second paragraph, this theory has a great possibility of cycle of changes.

Overall, I like this theory so much that I relate this to the so-called ‘law of attraction’ in science and in philosophy and/or other branches of knowledge. Law of attraction, according to Sasson, is the attractive, magnetic power of the Universe that draws similar energies together. This law attracts thoughts, ideas, people, situations, and circumstances. Just like constructivism, whatever the actors want, with regard to identity, it will be it. “The law of attraction manifests through individuals’ thoughts…and ideas”. Similar to what constructivism is, and as the meaning of the word ‘constructed’ which is to understand the word as coming into being.

Again, the rise of constructivism, a theory revolving around the human consciousness of individuals or actors of states—primarily about norms, the development of structures, the relationship between the two, implies that this theory is like an approach or a movement crafted by actors depending on their behaviour and interests to come up with their identity; a theory of fellowship and union. It is also a theory of thoughts, of thinking that international system is but a human invention not of a material or a tangible kind, rather, something rational, radical, entirely intellectual and ideational. It is a median because it can be through realists and liberalists.

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