Reconstructing the Cold War: The Early Years, 1945-1958

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Why would Iosif Stalin completely neglect the de-colonizing world as a potential ally in the global power competition?

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Ted Hopf answers these puzzles by suggesting that instead of realist theories of international relations IR or personality-centered diplomatic history, a constructivist take provides a more promising path. Developing his earlier approach to "societal constructivism," Hopf argues that Soviet identity discourses at home explain relations abroad.

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For each of these puzzles, he shows that Soviet external policy was driven by a particular way the Soviet Union came to understand itself. Once an identity "discourse of difference" was empowered, relations with Yugoslavia, the Eastern bloc, China, and the Third World were redefined. Covering , the book is the first of a planned trilogy that will cover Soviet foreign policy through the end of the Cold War.

In today's environment of overwhelming academic output, Hopf stands out as a scholar whose research one is always inspired to read and reflect upon. This book is no exception. It is a must-read for its combination of IR theory and history, precisely because history is not used simply for quick theoretical points. Instead, Hopf devises a theoretical framework for understanding the history of Soviet foreign policy. In return, his meticulous historical analysis feeds back to IR theory, especially constructivist foreign policy analysis FPA —in content and methodology.

Reconstructing the Cold War: The Early Years, 1945 - 1958

Whereas FPA has become centered on the analysis of individual decisions, thereby harnessing a multitude of factors from standard [End Page ] operating procedures to cognitive psychological dispositions, Hopf's approach harks back to a more classical study of national foreign policy traditions , a form of study that was never purely deductive from sheer power positions. Before we know what the Soviet Union stands for in its international relations, Hopf argues, we need to know what the Soviet Union stands for in its self-understanding. Hopf's theoretical contribution is the development of a specific "societal" version of constructivism, an approach that builds on work presented in his earlier award-winning book.

In this approach, the reference group of recognition for identity is always relational is domestic not international society. He therefore carefully tries to identify the sources of the identity discourses he finds in the institutions of civil society that deal with ideas and their expression, that is, the arts mainly written , the university and scientific system, and the press.

Sovietization of Bulgaria and Romania - Cold War DOCUMENTARY

In the present book, he explicitly adds an institutional component to his approach, insisting on the ways certain formal and informal institutions can become carriers of ideas—or their temporarily silent depository. Analyzing identity in such places as novels is necessary because looking for identity discourses is looking for the taken-for-granted, for the things that go without saying. In he earned a Ph.

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  8. His signature contribution to constructivism has been to bring the domestic into the theorization of how states acquire their identities. This provides a mid-range constructivism, below systemic, but avoiding the psychologism of individual levels of analysis. Hopf has also been a force in advocating the adoption of as many mainstream social science methodological techniques as possible so long as their adoption does not do violence to the interpretivist roots of constructivism.

    Most recently he has been exploring how habits contribute to a constructivist understanding of social order in world politics. He has authored or edited five books. Shulman Award, presented by the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies , for the best book of on the international politics of the former Soviet Union and Central Europe.

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    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. National University of Singapore. Retrieved May 11, Archived from the original PDF on Retrieved International relations theory.