Constructivism and Ecological Thought: A Critical Discussion on the Prospects for a 'Greening' of IR Theory

Sebastian MASLOW, Ayako NAKAMURA
2008 Interdisciplinary Information Sciences  
The ecological crisis, most famously represented by the issues of global warming, stepped up the political agenda of policy-makers in the domestic and international arenas. Environmental degradation, such as transboundary pollution, states a challenge to the traditional thinking of democracy and sovereignty. In arguing that the environment is underrepresented in IR theory due to the notorious anthropocentric approach of the old paradigm of rationalism, we discuss prospects for a 'greening' of
more » ... . Against this background, we attempt to discuss aspects of green political thought (GPT) in the context of IR. Here, we focus on the work of Robyn Eckersley, who argues for a re-invention of the liberal democratic state into an ecological democracy and thus for a 'greening' of the state within and outside the boundaries of statehood. 'Greening' here, we argue, requires a theoretical approach which takes identities and interests seriously. It is here that we base our discussion on the work of Alexander Wendt, who developed constructivism into a systematic theory in IR. We try to bring Wendt's and Eckersley's thought together and to offer some answers for the state of the current ecological crisis. Against this background we argue that nature is a paramount non-constructible structure and introduce the notion of ecocentrism. Thus, we argue for a rethinking of actors' behavior within nature as a structure. It is in this context that we apply constructivism, because it offers a feasible theoretical approach for a 'greening' of states' identities and interests and thus to develop approaches toward the solution of the ecological crisis faced by the international society.
doi:10.4036/iis.2008.133 fatcat:ahmtvnwx5bhfzcyq7y2g3hh3tm