Stretching the IR theoretical spectrum on Irish neutrality: a critical social constructivist framework
Devine, Karen (2008) Stretching the IR theoretical spectrum on Irish neutrality: a critical social constructivist framework. International Political Science Review, 29 (4). p. 461. ISSN 0192-5121
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In a 2006 International Political Science Review article, entitled "Choosing to Go It Alone: Irish Neutrality in Theoretical and Comparative Perspective," Neal G. Jesse argues that Irish neutrality is best understood through a neoliberal rather than a neorealist international relations theory framework. This article posits an alternative "critical social constructivist" framework for understanding Irish neutrality. The first part of the article considers the differences between neoliberalism and social constructivism and argues why critical social constructivism's emphasis on beliefs, identity, and the agency of the public in foreign policy are key factors explaining Irish neutrality today. Using public opinion data, the second part of the article tests whether national identity, independence, ethnocentrism, attitudes to Northern Ireland, and efficacy are factors driving public support for Irish neutrality. The results show that public attitudes to Irish neutrality are structured along the dimensions of independence and identity, indicating empirical support for a critical social constructivist framework of understanding of Irish neutrality.
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