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Introduction

 

Nina Hiekonen 64833

 

International Relations/ Thesis Writing KKEN61

 

The Issue of Russian Identity

 

The issue of identity is important as it provides certain

characteristics of state. It describes a state and resolves questions of

state identification. It characterizes a state in the context of other

states. In addition, it constructs an idea of a state.

 

Constructivism offers alternative understandings of a number of central

themes in International Relations theory, including the meaning of

anarchy and a balance of power, a relationship between state identity

and interest, and prospects for change in world politics.

Constructivism assumes that actors and structures mutually constitute

each other; anarchy must be interpreted to have a meaning; state

interests are part of the process of identity construction; power is

both material and discursive; and change in world politics is both

possible and difficult (Hopf, 1998:171). For constructivists there is no

“logic” of anarchy apart from the practices that create and instantiate

one structure of identities and interests rather than another; structure

has no existence or causal powers apart from process. Self-help and

power politics are institutions, not essential features of anarchy.

Anarchy is what states make of it (Wendt, 1992:395).

 

In constructivism, identity is an important creative factor. Identity

plays an important role in world politics. Identities are produced by

interactions, institutions, norms and cultures. In addition, identities

are important for the construction of the state (Wendt 1992). From the

constructivist’s point of view, identities are necessary in

international politics in order to ensure some level of predictability

and order. A world without identities is a world of chaos, a world of

uncertainty. Identities perform necessary functions in a society: they

tell you and others who you are and they tell you who others are. A

state understands others according to the identity it attributes to

them, and reproduces its own identity. (Hopf, 1998:174).

 

A state identity is formed in a system of states. Hopf assumes that

constructivism, while expecting to uncover differences, identities and

multiple understandings, still assumes that it can specify a set of

conditions under which one can expect to see one identity or another

(Hopf, 1998).

 

Understanding how identities are constructed, what norms and practices

accompany their reproduction, and how they construct each other is a

major part of the constructivist research program. Constructivism

assumes, a priori, that identities are potentially part of the

constitutive practices of the state, and so, productive of its actions

at home and abroad. Different states behave differently towards other

states, based on the identities of each (Hopf 1998, 174).

 

Identity of a state in international politics is quite important as it

characterizes the state internally and internationally. Every identity

brings in itself a certain knowledge about the state, its internal and

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