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Social Theory of International Politics

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  175 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Drawing on philosophy and social theory, Social Theory of International Politics develops a cultural theory of international politics that contrasts with the realist mainstream. Wendt argues that states can view each other as enemies, rivals, or friends. He characterizes these roles as "cultures of anarchy," which are shared ideas that help shape states' interests and capa ...more
Paperback, 447 pages
Published October 7th 1999 by Cambridge University Press (first published October 6th 1995)
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Alexander Wendt, in his Social Theory of International Politics, explicitly takes aim at Kenneth Waltz’s seminal work, Theory of International Politics. Wendt, powerfully arguing that Waltz’s characterization of anarchy in the international system is underspecified, makes the claim that distribution of ideas are a key underlying causal factor for anarchy and thus conflict, as opposed to Waltz’s distribution of capabilities. At first glance, Wendt’s focus on the distribution of ideas is a seeming ...more
So Wendt's another IR guy who you can't ignore, even if you don't quite buy his ideas. He includes an excellent justification of science, although he's defining science a little broadly than I appreciate. He's definitely among the "smarter" constructivists, as he takes strategic action seriously. Unfortunately, while his approach is compelling, few constructivists can tell us where norms come from in a way that satisfies rationalist concerns with the second-order problems inherent to making norm ...more
Wow, that was a hard one to read. Although "Anarchy is what states make of it." sounds quite simple, this book is so much more than just that. Trying to create a via media between existing IR theories that seem to be incompatible with each other, Wendt uses a more holist and idealist approach to IR, while also borrowing the concept of anarchy from Neorealism (especially Waltz's Neorealism). It is important to add that he also disagress with Waltz on various points, though.
At first glance, you mi
Raj Agrawal
[Disclaimer: This is a snapshot of my thoughts on this book after just reading it. This is not meant to serve as a summary of main/supporting points or a critique – only as some words on how I engaged with this book for the purposes of building a theoretical framework on strategy.]

-- Assigned portions of chapters 3 and 6 for School of Advanced Air & Space Studies –

(pp. 165-190)
In this first (turgid) assigned section, Wendt discusses his two effects of structure: causal and constitutive. Cau
Arys Aditya
Nah, harus ada yang menerjemahkan buku ini ke Bahasa Indonesia, supaya mahasiswa HI di Indonesia tidak terperangkap ke Realisme/Neorealisme dan Liberalisme/Neoliberalisme saja. Harus!
Wendt, yang sangat tersohor lewat kata 'Anarchy is What States Make of It' melahirkan salah satu aliran filsafat paling kuat HI melalui buku ini: Konstruktivisme Sosial. Maka untuk buku sekelas itu, sudah semestinya telah diterjemahkan.
Wendt's magnum opus is really two books--one on social theory, the other on systems theory--and this makes it somewhat unwieldy. But it is a must for all students of IR who are serious about systematically thinking about our ontological positions.
Barry McCulloch
Although stuck in its own 'via media', Wendt makes an invaluable contribution to contemporary IR theory.
Sep 26, 2009 Reza is currently reading it
That Wendt is a realist in a constructivist coat lol
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