International Politics

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 334–349 | Cite as

Socialisation and the liberal order

  • Susan Park
Original Article


Constructivists trace how ideas change state and non-state actor identities as a result of socialisation. Rationalists too use the concept of socialisation to explain change in actors’ behaviour. Studies of socialisation examine change through the states’ spreading ideas through pathways such as elite learning and upwards mobilisation from the masses as well as micro-processes of persuasion, social influence and coercion. This article analyses the literature on socialisation to make three claims: one, that contrary to its sociological origin the use of socialisation seems to focus primarily on change in international relations rather than stasis; two, that the focus on capturing change has zeroed in on the cause and extent of change, crossing but also reproducing the constructivist–rationalist divide; and finally, that the concentration of ‘socialisation studies’ on policy fields such as human rights may actually reflect not (only) a scholarly research bias but rather continuity and stasis of the liberal international order.


socialisation constructivism rationalism change liberalism international order 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Park
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Government and International RelationsThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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