Nisa's Reviews > Social Theory of International Politics

Social Theory of International Politics by Alexander Wendt
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's review
Sep 26, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: text-books
Read in November, 2009

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 might see him as a constructivist. Well, he himself claims his theorizing to be thin constructivism: it is not "ideas all the way down" as radical constructivists or poststructuralists would claim, but he argues that there are ultimately a material basis for everything, eventhough the values and interests in those very same things are constituted of ideas. This is one his attempts to 'harmonize' two radical views.
On cultures of anarchy, Wendt sees three different types of anarchy: Hobbesian, Lockean, and Kantian. These three are also divided into three degrees of internalization.
And there is still so much more in the book which would take me forever to summarize here.

All in all, this book is definitely a must for anyone who wants to study IR deeper. It enriches one's understanding of other IR theories and shows that it is possible to do IR theorizing without being entirely radical. Two thumbs up!

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Reza (new) - added it

Reza I'd like to see how you review this book :)

Nisa Wait til I finish reading it ya..

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