Discursive Approach to the Identity of the State in International Relations
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Uniwersytet Kardynała Stefana Wyszyńskiego
Publication date: 2019-03-31
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2019;55(1):109-130
The issue of the identity of state participants in international relations since the 1980s begins to return to scientific reflection on international relations thanks to the changes that constructivism has brought to the international relations science75. Its view on the ontological dimension of international reality allows for the analysis of issues such as identity, discourse, norms and values in international space, which have so far remained on the margins of theoretical reflection of mainstream paradigms, such as neorealism or neoliberalism. Thanks to the so-called constructivist turn, identity has become one of the most important issues through which the international reality is analyzed. However, the multitude of constructivist interpretations of international reality, expressed in the existence of several of its varieties (the article adopts a dual division into traditional and critical constructivism) is a source of multiple interpretations of the phenomenon of state identity within this paradigm. This multiplicity is at the same time a source of constructivist problems with the category of identity: a way of examining and explaining, as well as ambiguity in terms of definition. It is worth paying attention to the discursive approach to identities offered by researchers representing critical constructivism, referring in this aspect to the achievements of the poststructuralist tradition of language studies. Here, the identity of the state appears as a impermanent, processual and contextual phenomenon, agreed and shaped by means of language. This approach to the identity of the state constitutes a challenge for those stuck in the positivist or behavioral tradition of scientific paradigms of the international relations science.
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