What do you consider to be the most important issues in global politics today?
What theories do you find most useful for exploring those phenomena?
What do you think is the purpose of theory?
To examine the first question, ‘what are the important issues in global politics?’… Well, like the
array of theories we’ve been introduced to in this module, there may be many answers to this question, depending on your perspective. Migration, poverty, the rise of nationalism and the environment (among others), warfare and military conflict.
Eg. Why is it that East Asia is relatively peaceful now but has a history of conflict in the 20th Century? Why is it that liberal democracies tend not to fight each other (as given in ‘democratic peace’ theory). Where we hear of wars in the world today (the obvious one is Syria) what is it about these countries that differs from liberal nations? What theory can best explain what is happening?
These are all questions, in my view, that are worth exploring.
The word count for this assessment is 1,500 words plus or minus 10%. The word count excludes footnotes and reference list. You should use the Harvard Referencing System.
To what extent can we really claim that international relations are “constructed”?
TO WHAT EXTENT CAN WE REALLY CLAIM THAT INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS ARE “CONSTRUCTED”?
Table of Contents
1. Describing constructivism theory
2. Significant issues in global politics
3. Purpose of theory
Social constructivism differs from theories of post-positivism due to recognizing knowledge types regarding inter-subjective which has higher epistemological value. International relations give clear understanding and regarding international culture having different values and social beliefs due to which global issues such are created. The current study sheds light on global issues and construction of international relations. Along with that, it demonstrates different global issues such as migration as well as poverty and rise of nationalism and military conflict. The study describes constructivism theory for the purpose of raising issues related to military conflict.
1. Describing constructivism theory
Constructivism theory indicates that human constructs knowledge level by gathering information from past experiences and current incidents. According to Jackson and Sorensen (2006, p.168), the theory mentions that learning is the systematic way of combining two processes such as development of level of knowledge and determination of appropriate meaning. Knowledge is constructed by considering two basic processes such as multiple perspectives of specific scenario and authentic data based on which a person is able to take significant action. According to the views of Wiener (2006, p.15), the context of International Relations theory is greatly related to constructivism, the notion that establishes a middle ground between the paradigmatic positions of reflectivists and rationalists. As per information from pre-existing knowledge, information is processed into information processing system and absolute knowledge is gathered (Bada and Olusegun, 2015, p.69). Due to which, it can be demonstrated that finding out multiple perspectives and justifying authentic information from all gathered information are significant ways of enhancing knowledge level based on specific factor (Peltonen, 2017, p.11). Learning activities and knowledge level become effective in case of understanding reason of arising specific issues related to environmental and social factors in Global context.
Thus, people of different countries can be able to take significant action in case of facing challenges such as higher inflation rate and lower capita income if reason and impact of arising issues are understood properly. As suggested by Klotz and Lynch (2014, p.49), human constructs level of knowledge and develop strategic idea by reminding causes and impact from past experiences. In the following context, theory of constructivism has provided sufficient idea related to taking of appropriate action and developing knowledge level. Based on which, international relations can be constructed significantly.
2. Significant issues in global politics
People migrate from own nation to another nation due to finding job and getting basic needs such as food and shelter. As opined by Mainwaring and Brigden (2016, p.251), economic inflation rate as well as variation in social belief and political war forces certain group of people to leave own nation and relocate to another country. As an example, unstable economic condition and higher inflation rate as well as political war force millions people in Venezuela to migrate from own country to nearby countries of South America and seaside of Caribbean. Almost, 3 million people have migrated to nearby countries and number can be enhanced up to 2 million by 2019 (migrationpolicy.org, 2019).
Migration has been a core aspect of SDG framework. 2018 has experienced international community to negotiate a first ever “Global Compact for Migration” for helping the future of migration on a positive note to improve the spheres of education, health and livelihood opportunities of refugees. As influenced by the views of Adler (1997, p.325), constructivism displays that the most enduring institutions are typically based on collective understanding and are reified structures conceived by human consciousness. On this background, it has been perceived that these improvements are made based on the experiences from past regarding refugees and migration.
Reformation of United Nations
In the current state of political background, reformation of United Nations has been one of the major political lookouts globally. Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary general has perceived the need of putting a reform, peace and prevention at the centre of the agenda. The year 2018 has been a year to experience a range of steps for reforming the UN. The report has been released on strengthening the development system through recommending some concrete ways to modernise different UN actors to be more powerful in order to effectively deliver Sustainable Development goals. Apart from this, pillars of security, peace and UN management have been formed at the basis of the latest effort made in 2018 in order to make UN more efficient and fit for purpose within an ever changing world (Unfoundation.org, 2019). This issue can greatly be addressed through constructivism theory as a reformation is always a subject of constructing knowledge level through gathering information from past experiences. Evaluating the past experiences, this reformation has been executed as it has been required for UN to get even stronger, more adaptive and responsive to the issues affecting the world.
Delivering on SDGs
2017 has seen a positive momentum regarding increased involvement of civil society, governments, private sector and philanthropy in the sphere of major global issues such as inclusiveness, poverty and environmental sustainability. It has been noticed that death of children under 5 has been decreased to 5.6 million from 12.7 million in the year 1990. The part of a 15 years old or above to have an account in a financial institution has been raised by 75% from the year 2005 (Unfoundation.org, 2019). Along with that, almost 40 million people have been successful to escape extreme poverty level. Diseases such as polio have come to the brink of global eradication. 2018 has experienced the actors to be more proactive around the implementation that includes ambitious local and global partnerships, the use of information for measuring the progress along with sustainable activities in both developing and developed countries. As influenced by the views of Amineh and Asl (2015, p.12), constructivism maintains the fact that learning is a specific procedure of constructing meaning and the way in which people tend to make sense from past experiences. This issue has a close relation with constructivism theory as the improvement marked has been the impact of working on problems addressed in past.
Acceleration of climate action
2018 has been the year to experience the Paris Agreement on climate change combating greenhouse gas emission to be turn three. It has observed in which ways private and sub national sectors have been committed to Paris for translating the objectives into action indicating global cooperation around environment and climate. Global Climate Action Summit in September, 2018 has been a seminal moment to involve a range of businesses, students, scientists, local governments, states and non-profit organisations to stock their progress towards achieving the goals of Paris Agreement through a procedure named Talaona Dialogue. It is set to play a vital role in informing the next level of greenhouse gas target by 2020. In the opinion of Wendt (1992, p.396), in respect with international relation the modern and postmodern constructivists are inclined in which ways knowledgeable practices tend to constitute subjects. This part of the issue has been the subject of different knowledgeable activities of United Nations.
3. Purpose of theory
Constructivism theory assists in constructing knowledge level by taking advantages of past experiences. Based on that, appropriate action can be taken at the time of facing challenging situation by analyzing deeply and evaluating outcome from specific scenario. Theory of constructivism provides significant idea regarding processing of information through two steps such as creation of multiple perspectives and authentic strategy by analyzing deeply (exploratorium.edu, 2019). Construction of international relation can be done by analyzing deeply of all associated factors in a specific situation. In the following context, it can be demonstrated that, theory of constructivism has shown strategic path for evaluating outcome and concerning specific factors. As opined by Bada and Olusegun (2015, p.67), different global issues such as poverty, health issues as well as environmental problem and migrants over the world has been mitigated by concerning associated factors of improvement. By critically thinking about differentiations into social belief and cultural aspects, relations between people of a nation can be strengthened significantly. Based on that, international relation can be constructed.
It is clear that, real world learning and authentic assessment both are significant aspects in context of constructivism theory. Due to which, taking strategy and building knowledge level by analyzing deeply of factors influencing real world problems can be strategic way to ensure strong international relation.
Thus, it can be concluded that, developing own knowledge level by analyzing deeply of all associated factors in a specific context is significant way to maintain strong international relations. Along with that, development of level of knowledge by reminding past experiences and observing real world problems can be strategic way to ensure taking of appropriate action at the time of facing challenging situation. Avoiding of racial discrimination as well as reducing interest rate and providing basic needs to people are ways of constructing international relations. Global relations are most significant aspects of political science due to concerning relations between different nations and international policies. People are migrated from own nation to another nation due to fulfilling basic needs such as foods and shelter and finding work. Government of specific nation could consider factors influencing living standard of common people based on that international relation could be constructed.
Adler, E., 1997. Seizing the middle ground: Constructivism in world politics. European journal of international relations, 3(3), pp.319-363.
Amineh, R.J. and Asl, H.D., 2015. Review of constructivism and social constructivism. Journal of Social Sciences, Literature and Languages, 1(1), pp.9-16.
Bada, S.O. and Olusegun, S., (2015). Constructivism learning theory: A paradigm for teaching and learning. Journal of Research & Method in Education, 5(6), pp.66-70.
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Jackson, R. and Sorensen, G., (2006). Introduction to international relations: theories and approaches, 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Klotz, A. and Lynch, C.M., (2014). Strategies for research in constructivist international relations. Routledge: Abingdon.
Mainwaring, Ċ. and Brigden, N., (2016). Beyond the border: Clandestine migration journeys: Introduction to Special Issue in Geopolitics, 21(2), pp.243-262.
migrationpolicy.org. (2019). As Venezuelan Crisis Deepens, South America Braces for More Arrivals and Indefinite Stays. Available at: https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/top-10-2018-issue-1-venezuelan-crisis-deepens-south-america-braces-more-arrivals-and [Accessed on: 23/02/19]
Peltonen, H., (2017). A tale of two cognitions: The Evolution of Social Constructivism in International Relations. Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional, 60(1). pp.1-14
Unfoundation.org (2019), 7 GLOBAL ISSUES TO WATCH IN 2018, https://unfoundation.org/blog/post/7-global-issues-watch-2018/ [Accessed on: 27/02/19]
Wendt, A., 1992. Anarchy is what states make of it: the social construction of power politics. International organization, 46(2), pp.391-425.
Wiener, A., (2006), Constructivist Approaches in International Relations Theory: Puzzles and Promises, Queen’s University Belfast, 5, pp.1-29
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