Advertisement

Axiomathes

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 345–361 | Cite as

Realism Versus Constructivism in Their Competition for Dominance in Politics: The Case of Russia

  • Alexey AlyushinEmail author
  • Helena Knyazeva
Original Paper

Abstract

This article focuses on the general theoretical issue of realism versus constructivism (or normativism) in politics, with a case of the present-day Russia as the main and most telling (but not the only) example. We present four assertions that we are going to defend. First, we claim that in the sphere of international relations, political realism of the offensive type, after decades of more tempered USA–USSR relations, is again challenging its opponent: political constructivism. Second, political realism is winning in the sphere of domestic politics and policy in the leading countries as well. Third, we touch upon theoretical issues and discuss the ontological nature of political realism in comparison with political constructivism and the kindred of the latter with normativism, legalism, constitutionalism and liberalism. Political constructivism as a concept is underestimated and rarely used. Our article explicates the concept of political constructivism, which is a novel contribution to political theory and political philosophy. Fourth, we show that political constructivism, being the most advanced achievement of political civilization compared to archaic realism, has not lost the game so far and should be upheld in its battle with the remnants of the wild political past. Sliding back to political realism would turn humankind into another degraded animal species instead of making it the pilot in continuing human progress.

Keywords

Political realism Political constructivism Authoritarianism John Locke Russia Ukraine USA Refugees State borders Power 

References

  1. Bagnoli C (2014) Starting points: Kantian constructivism reassessed. Ratio Juris 27(3):311–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bell DSA (2002) Anarchy, power and death: contemporary political realism as ideology. J Polit Ideol 7(2):221–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bergson H (1913) Creative evolution. Authorized translation by Arthur Mitchell. Henry Holt, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Booth K (2008) Navigating the ‘Absolute Novum’: John H. Herz’s political realism and political idealism. Int Relat 22(4):510–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Buckley M (2010) The structure of justification in political constructivism. Metaphilosophy 41(5):669–689CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cassirer E (1972) [1944] Essay on man. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  7. Chandler D (2013) Promoting democratic norms? Social constructivism and the ‘subjective’ limits to liberalism. Democratization 20(2):215–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chatagnier TJ, Castelli E (2016) A modern peace? Schumpeter, the decline of conflict, and the investment-war trade-off. Polit Res Q 69(4):852–864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cozette M (2004) Realistic realism? American political realism, Clausewitz and Raymond Aron on the problem of means and ends in international politics. J Strat Stud 27(3):428–453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Durkheim É (1982) [1895] The rules of sociological method. Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Etzioni A (2013) The bankruptcy of liberalism and conservatism. Polit Sci Q 128(1):39–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Evaghorou EL (2014) The state offensiveness in the international system: a theoretical discussion on political realism. Int J Public Law Policy 4(1):14–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fozouni B (1995) Confutation of political realism. Int Stud Q 39:479–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gorener AS (2002) Revisiting political realism: is there room for moral considerations? Int Stud 39(2):183–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hopf T (2013) Common-sense constructivism and hegemony in world politics. Int Organ 67:317–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huysmans J (1998) The question of the limit: desecuritization and the aesthetics of horror in political realism. J Int Stud 27(3):569–589Google Scholar
  17. Jones DM (2015) Return to reason: reviving political realism in western foreign policy. Int Aff 91(5):933–952CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Keaton SA, Bodie GD (2011) Explaining social constructivism. Commun Teach 25(4):192–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kim NK (2017) Anti-regime uprisings and the emergence of electoral authoritarianism. Polit Res Q 70(1):111–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lasswell HD (1960) [1930] Psychopathology and politics. A new edition with afterthoughts by the author. Viking Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  21. Locke J (2003) [1690] Two treaties of government and a letter concerning toleration. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  22. Luckmann T, Berger PL (1969) Social construction of reality: a treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Allen Lane, LondonGoogle Scholar
  23. McKinnon C (2002) Liberalism and the defence of political constructivism. Palgrave, BasingstokeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Merriam CE (1970) [1925]. New aspects of politics. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  25. Morgenthau HJ (1993) [1948] Politics among nations. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. Pham PJ (2011) Political realism and the question of regime legitimacy. Am Foreign Policy Interests 33:99–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Prinz J, Rossi E (2017) Political realism as ideology critique. Crit Rev Int Social Polit Philos 20(3):334–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Quale A (2015) Religion: a radical-constructivist perspective. Constr Found 11(1):119–126Google Scholar
  29. Richards L (2007) Connecting radical constructivism to social transformation and design. Constr Found 2(2–3):129–135Google Scholar
  30. Riegler A, Scholl A (2012) Luhmann and the sociological turn in constructivism. Constr Found 8(1):1–4Google Scholar
  31. Sager A (2017) Immigration enforcement and domination: an indirect argument for much more open borders. Polit Res Q 70(1):42–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Scholl A (2012) Between realism and constructivism? Luhmann’s ambivalent epistemological standpoint. Constr Found 8(1):5–12Google Scholar
  33. Schuett R (2007) Freudian roots of political realism: the importance of Sigmund Freud to Hans J. Morgenthau’s theory of international power politics. Hist Hum Sci 20(4):53–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Schütz A (1967) [1932] The phenomenology of the social world. Northwestern University Press, EvanstonGoogle Scholar
  35. Searle JR (1995) The construction of social reality. Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  36. Sigwart H-J (2013) The logic of legitimacy: ethics in political realism. Rev Polit 75:407–432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Spegele RD (1987) Three forms of political realism. Polit Stud 35:189–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Strauss DFM (2012) A history of attempts to delimit (state) law. J Jurid Sci 37(2):35–64Google Scholar
  39. Tampio N (2012) A defense of political constructivism. Contemp Polit Theory 11(3):305–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tickner AJ (1988) Hans Morgenthau’s principles of political realism: a feminist reformulation. J Int Stud 17(3):429–440Google Scholar
  41. Tsoukas H (2000) False dilemmas in organization theory. Organization 7(3):531–535CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. von Glasersfeld E (1995) Radical constructivism: a way of knowing and learning. Routledge Falmer, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. von Glasersfeld E (2009) Relativism, fascism, and the question of ethics in constructivism. Constr Found 4(3):117–120Google Scholar
  44. von Uexküll J (1975) A stroll through the worlds of animals and men: a picture book of invisible worlds. In: Schiller C (ed) Instinctive behavior. International Universities Press, New York, pp 5–80Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PhilosophyNational Research University ‘Higher School of Economics’MoscowRussia

Personalised recommendations