Author(s): Özgür YALÇIN

How socio-political world is constituted and transformed are fundamental questions of ontological and epistemological debate in international political theory. In this debate, the focus is on determining to what extent human agency has a role in the constitution and transformation of human socio-political world. In turn, the main question becomes to ascertain how human agency is constituted, that is, whether, to what extent and how material forces independent of human consciousness or human ideas take part in the constitution of human agency and thereby social reality. The discussion of these issues takes place generally the form of a confrontation between so-called philosophical positions of materialism and idealism, and sociologically it is formulated as the structure-agency debate. In the course of these debates, constructivism as an approach in social theory emerged as a promising conception that can transcend the limitations of existing theoretical approaches deemed to be structuralist. Those explicitly or implicitly structuralist positions leave human agency a very limited role and they could not develop a satisfactory perspective on the issue of how the material and ideal realms can be related to each other. In effect, such structuralist positions produce naturalizing and legitimizing effects in the repr oduction of socio-political status quo. The main premise of constructivism is that socio-political reality is intersubjectively constituted. On this basis, constructivism claims to be a critical conception of society, which can challenge the taken-for -gran tedness of social reality, give human agency its due role, and therefore provide a non-structuralist perspective. In this article, I will examine whether and to what extent constructivism succeeds in providing a critical, non-structuralist perspective on the constitution of socio-political reality.


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