Constructivism in International Relations
Maja Zehfuss' book offers a fundamental critique of constructivism, focusing on the work of Wendt, Onuf and Kratochwil. Using Germany's shift towards participation in international military operations as an illustration, she demonstrates why each version of constructivism fails in its own project and comes apart on the basis of its own assumptions. Inspired by Derridean thought, this book highlights the political consequences of constructivist representations of reality. Each critique concludes that constructivist notions of key concepts are impossible, and that this is not merely a question of theoretical inconsistency, but of politics. The book is premised on the notion that the 'empirical' and the 'theoretical' are less separate than is acknowledged in international relations, and must be read as intertwined. Zehfuss examines the scholars' role in international relations, worrying that, by looking to constructivism as the future, they will be severely curtailing their ability to act responsibly in this area.