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Does social constructivism really add anything new to debates about security?

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Published date
documents in English
6 pages
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  1. A new framework for analysis
    1. A critical methodology to grasp security another way
    2. A contestation of the traditional conceptualisations to enrich security studies' research agenda
  2. A positive balance-sheet
    1. Some scientific limits
    2. Major theoretical advances

During the late 1980s, when debates between neo-realists and neo-liberals seemed to exhaust them, so-called constructivist researches made their appearance. By asserting themselves as an alternative to realism, they reinterpret its main concepts (power, national interest, sovereignty). Moreover, it introduced issues, then regarded them as to whether they were marginal in International Relations, identity, and culture. The major features of the international system were no longer seen as natural, inherent, or by its structure, but as by-products of social context and the effect of the actors subjectivity. A deconstruction work began in the discipline. In the particular area of security studies, constructivism will question the unquestionable Idol Security. The realist military state-centred empirical focus on security to privilege the security's ontological and epistemological dimensions, and constructivist scholars have also tried to renew security studies. Consequently, it is interesting to wonder, if, by so doing, constructivism really adds anything new to the debates about security. After a presentation of constructivism applied to security studies, it will be easier to evaluate its real contributions to theoretical debates.

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