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date: 23 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Constructivism arose in international relations theory as a challenger to rationalist models of political action, especially liberalism and realism. Rather than assuming that interests flow naturally or directly from market structures or political institutions, constructivism generally implies that these structures and institutions are themselves the products of human action and endowed with the social meaning that people give to them. This chapter surveys some of the uses of constructivist research in the study of Asian international relations, engaging topics in political economy, security, identity, social movements, and historical memory. While it reflects on the successes of constructivism in highlighting issues that have been poorly served by prevailing rationalist theories, it also suggests that there are myriad challenges to ensure that constructivist theory can engage the broader field of international relations while avoiding any reification of cultures or politics in Asia.

Keywords: constructivism, Asia, security, memory, identity

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