Essay About Constructivism

Furthermore, critical constructivists emphasize the social construction of knowledge as based on temporal and cultural contexts and are more likely to engage with analysis of language to uncover how we recognize the world as “already categorized and formed by certain categorical and theoretical elements” (Kratochwil as cited in Fierke, p. As Fierke notes, constructivism is sometimes understood as rooted in the linguistic turn, which constitutes a common ground between constructivism and poststructuralism, which focuses on identities as being constituted in language (Hansen, 2013, p. A constructivist epistemology thus emphasizes that it is not possible to “get behind our language to compare it with that which it describes” (Fierke, 2016, p.168), as it is deeply immersed in the world rather than a mirror of it.

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Secondly, in constructing the identity of refugees, special consideration must be given to the changing terms used for the asylum seekers entering Germany, ranging from “Asylanten”, used as a denunciation of the refugee’s character, to “Geflüchtete”, as underscoring their helplessness and victimhood (Geisel, 2015).

This corresponds to Leach’s account of the refugee crisis in Australia in 2001-2002, who uncovers that multiple aspects constituted an overall picture of the asylum seekers as undeserving (2003).

The latter opposes the positivism and rationalism of mainstream theories and is more closely affiliated with critical social theory, while conventional constructivism distances itself from critical theory (Reus-Smit, 2005).

Conventional constructivism furthermore maintains its accordance with rationalism in epistemological or methodological questions.

Other contributions were able to further establish how identity and norms shape state interests and thus contribute to generating explanations for issues relevant to realism, such as military interventions and great power transformation (Barnett, 2013).

Constructivists question the individualist notions underlying mainstream ontologies of the state, and instead focus on a social ontology, emphasizing that states cannot be detached from a context of meaning that shapes their identity and interests (Fierke, 2016, p. Whereas mainstream theories assume states to follow lasting interests such as power and wealth, constructivists emphasize that essential aspects of IR are constructed in line with their historical and social context.

Norms specify actions that will cause others to recognize the actor’s identity and helps them react accordingly.

Furthermore, actors are produced by their cultural environment, instead of existing outside and previous to their society (Barnett, 2013).

Secondly, the party constructs an image of refugees that renders them not only undeserving of help and protection, but that further brands them a threat to said German identity.

Lastly, they contrast both identities and proclaim their own policies as solution to the alleged conflict between them.


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