THE AUTHORS: Benjamin de Carvalho og Halvard Leira.

New article: Construction time again: History in Constructivist IR Scholarship

Published: 17 Mar 2017

NUPI-researchers has looked at different ways the history has been used in constructivism.

How do scholars of International Relations working with a broadly “constructivist” theoretical apparatus approach history in their analyses? This is the overarching question of this article written by Senior Research Fellows at NUPI, Halvard Leira and Benjamin de Carvalho, with the title: Construction time again: History in Constructivist IR Scholarship

Through a study of a number of constructivist texts the authors establish three distinct generations of scholars, differing relatively much in their use of history. They make the case that there is a move from a first generation where history served primarily to undermine generalized and ahistorical mainstream arguments, through a second generation where history was providing data to undercut specific mainstream stories, replacing them with their own largely progressive stories. Then there is a third generation where history is embraced for its own purpose, and history is seen as more open-ended and contingent.

There has been a move from the general to the particular. From a meta-critique of the mainstream, through accommodation with the mainstream, to a more localised opposition against the mainstream.

The article will be of interest to anyone curious about how the past can inform analyses of world politics, and how history can be used without being abused.