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Theories of Constructivism and Rational Choice - Essay Example

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This essay discusses that international relations are a study of foreign affairs and relations among different countries of the world and international organizations. The different areas of research include world history, international laws, and other global issues. …
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Theories of Constructivism and Rational Choice
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"Theories of Constructivism and Rational Choice"

Download file to see previous pages This essay stresses that in both constructivism and rationalism, a lot of attention is paid to the interaction between the individual and the social structure but the notion is viewed from different lenses by the school of the thoughts. Constructivism has also tended to give more attention to the traditions and mutual understandings of legitimate behavior. On the other hand, this comes into clash with the perceptions propagated by rationalists who believe that the actors try to do the right thing rather instead of working for and reaping the most benefits from their given set of preferences. Constructivists do not give preference to structure over an agency or vice versa. However, this theory does not accept the notion of individualism which is widely accepted by rationalizing theorists. Constructivists have presented arguments against the individualistic ontology of rationalizing theorists; instead, constructivism has placed stress on social ontology.
As the report highlights the aim of positivist theories is to imitate and reproduce in a similar form the procedures undertaken by natural sciences. This is done by reflecting upon and evaluating the effect of material sciences. Positivist theories are characterized by their capacity to take into account various features of international relations like the nature of interactions amongst states, the size of the army put into order by governments, the clash and balance of the authorities and the control of the states. On the same hand, the role of post-positivist epistemology comes into limelight. This epistemology refutes the notion that the social world can be investigated and studies upon for the purpose of gaining more insight into the dynamics of international relations by taking an unbiased and value-free approach. The concepts of neo-liberalism and neo-realism, as promoted by a number of theorists, are not granted credibility and substance for study of the social world. This follows that the rational choice theory and other theories that fall under the category of neo-liberalism and neo-realism are not a viable approach for knowing more about the social world in an academic way. Post-positivist epistemology regards that these theories are not applicable for this purpose because the scientific method cannot be used for analyzing the interactions being carried out in social setups, and therefore a science relating to the international relations can never be established. One of the main differences between the two sets of theories is that while positivist theories, like neo-realism, present simple explanations, e.g. the rationales as for why and how power is to be used; post-positivist theories instead center on constitutive questions, like what exactly is meant by power, what builds it up, how it is experienced and reproduced. The rational choice theory  Evolution of Rational Choice Theory The rational choice theory is based on the views and concepts of a man named Cesare Beccaria from the 1700s. Cruelty and harsh punishments were common in the period of the nineteenth century but Beccaria’s dedication to the field aided in eliminating such unjust practices. He believed ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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