Rationalist, Constructivist, and Psychological Approaches
Author: Hiski Haukkala
Category: Political Science
Trust is a core concept in International Relations (IR), representing a key ingredient in state relations. It was only relatively recently that IR scholars began to probe what trust really is, how it can be studied, and how it affects state relations. In the process three distinct ways of theorising trust in IR have emerged: trust as a rational choice calculation, as a social phenomenon or as a psychological dimension. Trust in International Relations explores trust through these different lenses using case studies to analyse the relative strengths and weaknesses of different approaches. The case studies cover relations between: United States and India ASEAN and Southeast Asian countries Finland and Sweden USA and Egypt The European Union and Russia Turkey’s relations with the West This book provides insights with real-world relevance in the fields of crisis and conflict management, and will be of great interest for students and scholars of IR, security studies and development studies who are looking to develop a more sophisticated understanding of how different theories of trust can be used in different situations.
Are good and bad outcomes significantly affected by the decision-making process itself? Indeed they are, in that certain decision-making techniques and practices limit the ability of policymakers to achieve their goals and advance the national interest. The success of policy often turns on the quality of the decision-making process. Mark Schafer and Scott Crichlow identify the factors that contribute to good and bad policymaking, such as the personalities of political leaders, the structure of decision-making groups, and the nature of the exchange between participating individuals. Analyzing thirty-nine foreign-policy cases across nine administrations and incorporating both statistical analyses and case studies, including a detailed examination of the decision to invade Iraq in 2003, the authors pinpoint the factors that are likely to lead to successful or failed decision making, and they suggest ways to improve the process. Schafer and Crichlow show how the staffing of key offices and the structure of central decision-making bodies determine the path of an administration even before topics are introduced. Additionally, they link the psychological characteristics of leaders to the quality of their decision processing. There is no greater work available on understanding and improving the dynamics of contemporary decision making.
Maja Zehfuss' book offers a fundamental critique of constructivism, focusing on the work of Wendt, Onuf and Kratochwil. Using Germany's shift towards participation in international military operations as an illustration, she demonstrates why each version of constructivism fails in its own project and comes apart on the basis of its own assumptions. Inspired by Derridean thought, this book highlights the political consequences of constructivist representations of reality. Each critique concludes that constructivist notions of key concepts are impossible, and that this is not merely a question of theoretical inconsistency, but of politics. The book is premised on the notion that the 'empirical' and the 'theoretical' are less separate than is acknowledged in international relations, and must be read as intertwined. Zehfuss examines the scholars' role in international relations, worrying that, by looking to constructivism as the future, they will be severely curtailing their ability to act responsibly in this area.
Constructivism in Social Theory and International Relations
Author: Nicholas Onuf
Category: Political Science
Nicholas Onuf is a leading scholar in international relations and introduced constructivism to international relations, coining the term constructivism in his book World of Our Making (1989). He was featured as one of twelve scholars featured in Iver B. Neumann and Ole Wæver, eds., The Future of International Relations: Masters in the Making? (1996); and featured in Martin Griffiths, Steven C. Roach and M. Scott Solomon, Fifty Key Thinkers in International Relations, 2nd ed. (2009). This powerful collection of essays clarifies Onuf’s approach to international relations and makes a decisive contribution to the debates in IR concerning theory. It embeds the theoretical project in the wider horizon of how we understand ourselves and the world. Onuf updates earlier themes and his general constructivist approach, and develops some newer lines of research, such as the work on metaphors and the re-grounding in much more Aristotle than before. A complement to the author’s groundbreaking book of 1989, World of Our Making, this tightly argued book draws extensively from philosophy and social theory to advance constructivism in International Relations. Making Sense, Making Worlds will be vital reading for students and scholars of international relations, international relations theory, social theory and law.
Why does North Korea behave erratically in pursuing its nuclear weapons program? Why did the United States prefer bilateral alliances to multilateral ones in Asia after World War II? Why did China become "nice"—no more military coercion—in dealing with the pro-independence Taiwan President Chen Shuibian after 2000? Why did China compromise in the negotiation of the Chunxiao gas exploration in 2008 while Japan became provocative later in the Sino-Japanese disputes in the East China Sea? North Korea’s nuclear behavior, U.S. alliance strategy, China’s Taiwan policy, and Sino-Japanese territorial disputes are all important examples of seemingly irrational foreign policy decisions that have determined regional stability and Asian security. By examining major events in Asian security, this book investigates why and how leaders make risky and seemingly irrational decisions in international politics. The authors take the innovative step of integrating the neoclassical realist framework in political science and prospect theory in psychology. Their analysis suggests that political leaders are more likely to take risky actions when their vital interests and political legitimacy are seriously threatened. For each case, the authors first discuss the weaknesses of some of the prevailing arguments, mainly from rationalist and constructivist theorizing, and then offer an alternative explanation based on their political legitimacy-prospect theory model. This pioneering book tests and expands prospect theory to the study of Asian security and challenges traditional, expected-utility-based, rationalist theories of foreign policy behavior.
Soft power has tended to be overlooked in the field of international relations, often dismissed as lacking relevance or robustness as a theoretical concept. This book seeks to expand upon the idea of ‘soft power’ in international relations and to investigate how it actually functions by looking at three case studies in Japan-China relations during the post-war period. These cases involve the action of Japan’s soft power in China due to the activities of agents at three levels in society: the state level (an agency of the central government), the sub-state level (a local government), and at the non-state level (a non-governmental organisation). In addition, a major theme of the book is to examine the role of important international actors whose roles are not covered sufficiently in international relations discourse. Utpal Vyas demonstrates ways in which soft power is a useful analytical tool to understand relations between China and Japan in the early 2000s. The case studies help to reveal the complexities of interaction between China and Japan beyond the usual state-level analyses and offer a valuable resource for the study of Sino-Japanese relations and IR in general. This book will be of interest to academics and postgraduate students in Japanese studies, Chinese studies and International Relations.
This volume brings together the recent essays of Richard Ned Lebow, one of the leading scholars of international relations and US foreign policy. Lebow's work has centred on the instrumental value of ethics in foreign policy decision making and the disastrous consequences which follow when ethical standards are flouted. Unlike most realists who have considered ethical considerations irrelevant in states' calculations of their national interest, Lebow has argued that self interest, and hence, national interest can only be formulated intelligently within a language of justice and morality. The essays here build on this pervasive theme in Lebow's work by presenting his substantive and compelling critique of strategies of deterrence and compellence, illustrating empirically and normatively how these strategies often produce results counter to those that are intended. The last section of the book, on counterfactuals, brings together another set of related articles which continue to probe the relationship between ethics and policy. They do so by exploring the contingency of events to suggest the subjective, and often self-fulfilling, nature of the frameworks we use to evaluate policy choices.
International lawyers have long recognised the importance of interpretation to their academic discipline and professional practice. As new insights on interpretation abound in other fields, international law and international lawyers have largely remained wedded to a rule-based approach, focusing almost exclusively on the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Such an approach neglects interpretation as a distinct and broader field of theoretical inquiry. Interpretation in International Law brings international legal scholars together to engage in sustained reflection on the theme of interpretation. The book is creatively structured around the metaphor of the game, which captures and illuminates the constituent elements of an act of interpretation. The object of the game of interpretation is to persuade the audience that one's interpretation of the law is correct. The rules of play are known and complied with by the players, even though much is left to their skills and strategies. There is also a meta-discourse about the game of interpretation - 'playing the game of game-playing' - which involves consideration of the nature of the game, its underlying stakes, and who gets to decide by what rules one should play. Through a series of diverse contributions, Interpretation in International Law reveals interpretation as an inescapable feature of all areas of international law. It will be of interest and utility to all international lawyers whose work touches upon theoretical or practical aspects of interpretation.