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Constructivist security studies: Portrait of a research program

Journal Article


Abstract


  • The traditional focus on power and politics in security studies has been robustly challenged this decade by the development of two ideational approaches to the subject: constructivism and culturalism. The first section briefly examines these two literatures, considers how they have differed in the past, and suggests how they may now form a coherent constructivist research program. Section two clears up two common misconceptions about constructivism in security studies-namely, that it does not have a positivist epistemology but has a normative agenda. Constructivists do seek to explain the world (according to rules of social science) but not to change it. Section three addresses the criticism that a positivist epistemology is inconsistent with an ontology that gives causal weight to cultural variables. The final section concludes by discussing two options-one confrontational, the other cooperative-for a constructivist engagement of realism (the dominant approach in North American security studies).

Publication Date


  • 2002

Citation


  • Farrell, T. 2002, 'Constructivist security studies: Portrait of a research program', International Studies Review, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 49-72.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-0036063197

Number Of Pages


  • 23

Start Page


  • 49

End Page


  • 72

Volume


  • 4

Issue


  • 1

Place Of Publication


  • United States

Abstract


  • The traditional focus on power and politics in security studies has been robustly challenged this decade by the development of two ideational approaches to the subject: constructivism and culturalism. The first section briefly examines these two literatures, considers how they have differed in the past, and suggests how they may now form a coherent constructivist research program. Section two clears up two common misconceptions about constructivism in security studies-namely, that it does not have a positivist epistemology but has a normative agenda. Constructivists do seek to explain the world (according to rules of social science) but not to change it. Section three addresses the criticism that a positivist epistemology is inconsistent with an ontology that gives causal weight to cultural variables. The final section concludes by discussing two options-one confrontational, the other cooperative-for a constructivist engagement of realism (the dominant approach in North American security studies).

Publication Date


  • 2002

Citation


  • Farrell, T. 2002, 'Constructivist security studies: Portrait of a research program', International Studies Review, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 49-72.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-0036063197

Number Of Pages


  • 23

Start Page


  • 49

End Page


  • 72

Volume


  • 4

Issue


  • 1

Place Of Publication


  • United States