Constructivism, Identity, and the “Religions” of Post-Modernism - International Journal on World Peace (2022)

Constructivism, Identity, and the “Religions” of Post-Modernism - International Journal on World Peace (1)
Constructivism, Identity, and the “Religions” of Post-Modernism - International Journal on World Peace (2)

Introduction to IJWP, September 2020

(Video) The Symbolic Politics of Ethnicity

This issue of IJWP marks the first time that our authors have used a constructivist approach to international relations. Constructivism begins with the premise that international relations are socially constructed and that states behave more on the basis of the identity of other states than on their material resources. In an excerpt from International Relations Theory, Sarina Theys, citing Alexander Wendt, explained constructivism as follows:

Alexander Wendt (1995) offers an excellent example that illustrates the social construction of reality when he explains that 500 British nuclear weapons are less threatening to the United States than five North Korean nuclear weapons. These identifications are not caused by the nuclear weapons (the material structure) but rather by the meaning given to the material structure (the ideational structure). It is important to understand that the social relationship between the United States and Britain and the United States and North Korea is perceived in a similar way by these states, as this shared understanding (or intersubjectivity) forms the basis of their interactions. The example also shows that nuclear weapons by themselves do not have any meaning unless we understand the social context. It further demonstrates that constructivists go beyond the material reality by including the effect of ideas and beliefs on world politics.

Using the example of Bhutan, wedged between Tibet and India, Theys shows how constructivism better explains that country’s posture towards India and China than conventional IR theories. She concluded her article stating “it is not only the distribution of material power, wealth and geographical conditions that can explain state behavior but also ideas, identities, and norms. Furthermore, their focus on ideational factors shows that reality is not fixed, but rather subject to change.”

(Video) Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Hans Küng

In our article, “BRI, CPEC, and Pakistan: A Qualitative Content Analysis on China’s Grand Strategies,” Nazmul Islam and Esra Eymen Cansu analyze the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in terms of China’s constructivist approach to regional affairs where “China can introduce its own understanding of norms and values to make its rise peaceful within the international culture that China constructs.” China has successfully “sold” its regional norms and values to Pakistan by providing economic assistance in exchange for access to Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Indian Ocean, and by providing the security of its nuclear umbrella as an ally in the case Pakistan is attacked by India.

Constructivism is based on the perceptions, beliefs, and stereotypes assigned to a state’s identity in the form of narrative, either by a powerful state like China promoting itself, or a small state like Bhutan reacting in fear against China’s takeover of Tibet. Such narratives repeatedly told by authority figures help form the initial basis of social consciousness of citizens in the form of naive belief. Narratives are the way children gain their first beliefs about the world from parents, and it is the way many religions transmit their values through scriptures. However, rational, scientific, and critical analysis of such beliefs aids in understanding whether they are true, trustworthy, and constructive or false, reliable, and destructive.

Post-modern philosophers have argued that there is no objective truth, and that reason and science are metanarratives that are socially constructed. In the absence of universal truths, there are only constructed human truths—conventional truths understood in common by cultural groups, and truths imposed by elites in power. Initially, critical post-modern thinkers sought to “deconstruct” inherited truth to learn how our inherited truths developed and how they reflected social conditions of previous times. These studies relativized the value of “truth,” and some scholars argue we have entered a “post-truth world.” Thus China’s attempt to universalize its own civilizational values and, though power and influence, get Pakistan and other regional states to adopt its constructed narratives becomes the modus operandi in a post-truth world. Constructivism in international relations thus becomes narrative and identity politics at the great power level.

(Video) Sacred Capital: Reflections on Religion and Power in World Politics

Post-modernism has now entered into a crisis that some philosophers consider as serious as the crisis that confronted religions with the rise of science—which was able to generate practical results from scientific methods that produced universal value—causing many to reject inherited religious doctrines and beliefs. Identity politics, and in the US party politics, increasingly reflects narrative decoupled from science, and for some post-modernists all that is left is socially constructed narratives and power decoupled from reality—thus looking like “fake news” to those seeking rational and scientific justifications for truth.

Post-modern socially constructed group narratives to be taken by faith by members of the group increasingly look and behave like irrational fundamentalist religions. The April 2, 2017 Time magazine headline “Is Truth Dead?” was a replica of their “Is God Dead?” cover from April 8, 1966. In this context, John McWhorter in an article in The Atlantic could argue that “third-wave anti-racism” has become America’s newest religion, complete with doctrines that have nothing to do with progress or success. And, “post-truth” reality has debased the political process in the US, reducing politics to imposing party narrative by any means, rather than through legal and civil processes. This has led philosophers, such as Ken Wilber to conclude that the election of Donald Trump as President was a consequence of the failure of post-modernism to generate universal common-sense solutions that applied to all people equally. Politics needs to move beyond self-interest to higher consciousness.

This leads to the points made by Steve McIntosh in his book, Developmental Politics: How America Can Grow into a Better Version of Itself reviewed by Don Trubshaw in this issue. The hyperpolarization, if not war, between the two political parties in the United States is based on radically different group identities and narratives in US politics. McIntosh argues that the narratives are essentially partial and incomplete belief systems. The mainstream culture is modernist and rooted in science and traditional liberal values; traditional values that enabled society to evolve to the modernist worldview are part of the conservative political platform, while post-modern progressive values critique the negatives of prevailing values without recognizing their importance in sustaining society. The identity politics we witness today is what McIntosh considers one of the “pathologies” of post-modernism when unmoored from the traditional and modern worldviews. After explaining the positive and negative values of each worldview, McIntosh argues that cultural evolution is an integration that enhances the positive values in each worldview and constrains the negative pathologies of each.

(Video) Religions, Secularisms, and Public Spheres

On the international level, McIntosh’s approach could complement constructivism in IR theory, explaining how to evaluate and integrate state-level values, such as those that undermine Chinese, American, and other values on the international stage. Such integration is what McIntosh refers to as “cultural intelligence” and the application of cultural intelligence will promote greater peace, prosperity, and equality.

This first article in this issue, “From War Among Clans to War on Terror: International­ization of the Somali Conflict,” by Mohamed Salah Ahmed, provides a good discussion of how failed states become targets for control by both internal and external forces, in this case tribalism within Somalia, fundamentalist Islamic groups in the region, and geo-strategic contests among great powers.
Our third article, “Importance of Spirituality and Happiness at the Workplace,” by mathematician Ganesh Prasad Pokhariyal develops a mathematical model for understanding happiness in the workplace, which is important for happiness in life. The determinants of happiness at the workplace are considered to be organizational performance, employee satisfaction, and fulfilment of social responsibility.

Finally, I would like to mention the significant review of Janet Landman’s book, Looking for Revolution, Finding Murder: The Crimes and Transformation of Katherine Ann Power, by Rachel Halfrida Cunliffe. Both the book and the review are important additions to restorative justice literature. The book and review, which looks at the transformation of Katherine Ann Power, a 1960s activist who got involved with robbery and violence, also discloses a transformation of the author. It can shed light on those involved with restorative justice today as idealists seeking to improve society can get caught up in demonstrations that turn violent and cause harm that can lead to a life of regret.

(Video) Confucianism and Liberal Education for a Global Era: Lectures with Tu Weiming

Gordon L., Anderson, Editor

FAQs

How does religion affect global peace? ›

Religious communities also directly oppose repression and promote peace and reconciliation. Religious leaders and institutions can mediate in conflict situations, serve as a communication link between opposing sides, and provide training in peacemaking methodologies.

Why religion is important in international relations? ›

Religion has multiple influences on IR including its ability to confer legitimacy, to influence the world-views of leaders and their constituents, the tendency of religious conflicts to spill over borders, and through transnational phenomena and issues which overlap with religion including human rights and terrorism.

How does religion affect international politics? ›

Religion influences international politics in three ways. First, foreign policies are influenced by the religious views and beliefs of policymakers and their constituents. Second, religion is a source of legitimacy for both supporting and criticizing government behavior locally and internationally.

Who said that contemporary world is furiously religious? ›

Now, Berger gathers a number of essays contending that, far from being in decline in the modern world, religion is actually experiencing a resurgence. In his opening essay, Berger asserts that ""the assumption we live in a secularized world is false.... The world today is as furiously religious as it ever was.

How religion can enhance peace in the society? ›

Religion, however, can play an important role in peace-making and conflict prevention and resolution. Religion connects with peace in four major ways: The ideas of human dignity and the common humanity of all, derived from the notion that all are created in the image of the Divine, are foundational to true peace.

What is the role of religion in conflict and peacebuilding? ›

In a peacebuilding process, this means that religions can contribute "by empowering the weak, by influencing the moral-political climate, by developing cooperation and providing humanitarian aid." Religious actors and faith-based organizations are now present at every stage of the conflict transformation cycle.

What is religion in international relation? ›

It is generally believed that religion plays its role in the national foreign policy and international relations mainly through the religious views of the world, the source of legitimacy, institutions and leaders, group identity, soft power, transnational religious movements and issues (Xu, 2010: 45).

What is the meaning of international relationship? ›

international relations, the study of the relations of states with each other and with international organizations and certain subnational entities (e.g., bureaucracies, political parties, and interest groups).

What is religion and culture? ›

Culture is a body of knowledge that is acquired by people through years of being together in one society, while religion is the belief system directed towards the supreme deity and yet this is something that may or may not be accepted by each person in a culture.

What is the purpose of religious movements? ›

Religious movements are social movements that aim to alter existing religious organizations or establish new religious groups. New religious movements (NRMs) of the 20th century have resulted in the emergence of completely new cults, such as the Church of Scientology, or the Unification Church.

Is religion a conservative force Analyse in light of religious movements? ›

Religion as a conservative force means that it keeps things the same – religion is a force for stability and social order. This tends to be the view of Karl Marx, functionalists and feminists. Other sociologists see religion as force for social change – the role of religion is to encourage society to change.

What is transnational religion? ›

Transnational Religious Movements is a convincing narrative of how global religions have moved beyond spirituality to become key players in the world of welfare, education, economics, politics, and international relations. It examines the major faiths of the world, viz., Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and a sect.

What was the first recognized religion? ›

Hinduism (founded around the 15th – 5th century BCE)

The first and foremost of these is a belief in the Vedas – four texts compiled between the 15th and 5th centuries BCE on the Indian subcontinent, and the faith's oldest scriptures – which make Hinduism without doubt the oldest religion in existence.

What is the largest religion in the world? ›

Of the world's major religions, Christianity is the largest, with more than two billion followers. Christianity is based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and is approximately 2,000 years old.

How does religion influence to a global economic development? ›

Religion affects economic decision-making by establishing social standards and shaping individual personalities. Firms located in communities with higher religiosity tend to adhere to ethical norms that are conducive to a stable economy.

What is the connection between religion and peace? ›

Religious communities also directly oppose repression and promote peace and reconciliation. Religious leaders and institutions can mediate in conflict situations, serve as a communication link between opposing sides, and provide training in peacemaking methodologies.

Can religion play a positive role in peace building? ›

Research from the Religion and Peace Report shows that religion can facilitate greater peace and can have a positive role in peacebuilding.

Is religion a power for peace or a cause of conflict? ›

It is often claimed that religion causes conflict and war. It is true that sometimes deeply held beliefs can lead to clashes, and there have been many wars that were caused by disputes over religion and beliefs. However, for many people religion can be a power for peace.

What do religions teach about peace? ›

Some religions emphasize inner peace. Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism teach about the importance of finding peace or achieving nirvana through union with the divine or the universe.

How does religion cause conflict in society? ›

Religious extremists can contribute to conflict escalation. They see radical measures as necessary to fulfilling God's wishes. Fundamentalists of any religion tend to take a Manichean view of the world. If the world is a struggle between good and evil, it is hard to justify compromising with the devil.

What are the effects of religious conflicts? ›

Suffice it to say that the wrong use of religion has resulted to wanton destruction of lives and property. During violent religious conflicts, many people have been killed, maimed and wounded. There have also been wide spread disruption of economic activities with negative effects on productivity.

What is the role of religion in the creation of cultural regions? ›

Thus, religion provides a good basis for the demarcation of cultural regions. India is a multi-religion country. It is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Subsequently, the successive waves of people of other religious faiths came to India.

Are rituals always religious? ›

Not all rituals are religious. Brushing your teeth every morning in the same place and in the same way is a non-religious ritual. Like religious rituals, it also can make you "feel good", which reinforces your continuance of the practice. However, it rarely involves a belief in supernatural beings or forces.

What is religion Slideshare? ›

A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence. Many religions have narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that are intended to explain the meaning of life and/or to explain the origin of life or the Universe. Read more. Glory.

What are the 3 levels of analysis in international relations? ›

IR generally distinguishes between three levels of analysis: the system, the state, and the individual – but the group level is also important to consider as a fourth. To be able to use the level of analysis as an analytical device, we need to be clear about what we are most interested in.

Why is it important to study international relations? ›

Studying international relations is a surefire way to hone your decision-making, analytical, and interpersonal skills. You gain a comprehensive understanding of society, people, globalization and multinational markets. This skill set is in high demand among leading employers in both the private and public sectors.

Who is the father of international relations? ›

Hans Joachim Morgenthau (February 17, 1904 – July 19, 1980) was a German-American jurist and political scientist. He was one of the major twentieth-century figures in the study of international relations.

How religion influence your development as a person? ›

Depending on where you live, religion may also make you feel better about yourself by making you feel part of your larger culture. People who are religious have higher self-esteem and better psychological adjustment than people who aren't, according to a January 2012 study.

What is relationship between culture and religion? ›

The relationship between culture and religion is revealed in the motivation and manifestation of cultural expression. If culture expresses how humans experience and understand the world; religion is a fundamental way in which humans experience and understand the world.

What are the two factors that affect religion and culture? ›

Two of the factors affecting religious development are sense of religion and religious feelings which are origin of belief in individual.

What are the impact of religion in the society? ›

It improves health, learning, economic well-being, self-control, self-esteem, and empathy. It reduces the incidence of social pathologies, such as out-of-wedlock births, crime, delinquency, drug and alcohol addiction, health problems, anxieties, and prejudices.

How does religion and culture influence us? ›

Religion and culture are intertwined and each influences the other. Religion shapes culture because people who subscribe to religion participate in the enactment of the culture in which they live; they do not exist in a vacuum.

Who were the people influenced by the new religion? ›

Answer : The people who were influenced by the new religion were the Kshatriyas who were dominated by the Brahmans (priestly class) and the varna system. Also, the Ahimsa preached by the new religions influenced the peasants who did not approve of cattle-killing as sacrifices.

How is religion a barrier to social change? ›

Religion prevents change through ideological control and false consciousness. It teaches that inequality and injustice are God's will and thus there is no point trying to change it. Religion also prevents change by being the 'opium of the masses'.

What is the role of religion in social change? ›

Religion ideally serves several functions. It gives meaning and purpose to life, reinforces social unity and stability, serves as an agent of social control, promotes psychological and physical well-being, and may motivate people to work for positive social change.

In what important ways can religion be a force both for social stability and social change discuss? ›

RELIGION – IMPACT ON SOCIETY

(i) Religion can change the social order or religion can stabilise the social order (ii) Social change can lead to changes in religion itself at various levels or existing social order can defend and justify the religion which at times is oppressive and atrocious.

What is the relation between religion and globalization? ›

In short, globalization allows for religions previously isolated from one another to now have regular and unavoidable contact. As a result, globalization brings to the light the fact that since religions have similar values, not one of them is “correct” and, therefore, can be changed.

Which countries have religious conflict? ›

The Middle East is home to some of the world's most chaotic and violent war zones – including in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq – as well as simmering conflicts in states such as Israel and Lebanon. And while these conflicts usually have multiple causes, religion and religious hostilities certainly are important factors.

How globalization affects religious practices and beliefs? ›

The basic tenets of globalisation stand against religious parochialism. By diminishing the barriers between different cultures, globalisation lands religion in a quagmire of conflicts which reinforce social identities as some do not accept the new realities and turn to religion to rediscover their own identity.

Does religion cause peace conflict? ›

The Golden Rule. It is often claimed that religion causes conflict and war. It is true that sometimes deeply held beliefs can lead to clashes, and there have been many wars that were caused by disputes over religion and beliefs. However, for many people religion can be a power for peace.

What do religions teach about peace? ›

Some religions emphasize inner peace. Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism teach about the importance of finding peace or achieving nirvana through union with the divine or the universe.

Is religion a threat to peace and security? ›

Religious fundamentalism is a serious threat to socio-economic development, international peace, security and stability.

What does globalization of religion imply? ›

In this context, the globalization of religion can be understood as a process of realignment in this global religious situation, a process which involves the following three facets: First, it implies the inevitable transformation of individual religious organizations; second, it can be expected that new characteristics ...

What is Marx's solution for the question of the role of religion in society? ›

Under communism, where man controls the conditions of his labour, he is essentially 'for himself', and thus will have no need of religion. Under communism, where reality is 'fair' religion will not be required, and so will simply whither away. The original text where Marx's 'opium' line first appeared in 1844.

How does religion cause conflict in society? ›

Religious extremists can contribute to conflict escalation. They see radical measures as necessary to fulfilling God's wishes. Fundamentalists of any religion tend to take a Manichean view of the world. If the world is a struggle between good and evil, it is hard to justify compromising with the devil.

How can we maintain peace in our society? ›

Be helpful to others when you can (help your neighbor with their groceries, walk their dog, clean up their yard) Meditate and invite others to meditate. Study nonviolence, ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution), Conflict Management, Conflict Resolution, Peace studies. Learn another language.

What are some examples of religious conflicts? ›

The Crusades, the many periods of persecution of Jews, religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe, the execution of hundreds of Christians in seventeenth-century Japan, the Mormon expulsion from Missouri and Illinois in the 1840s, the Branch Davidian conflagration ...

Why is it important to have religion? ›

Religion is understood to influence subjective well-being through various ways: the religious community gives people a sense of belonging and provides an important source of social support; religion gives people's lives meaning and purpose; and finally, religion encourages people to lead healthier lifestyles.

What is the contribution of religion? ›

Some of the benefits of religion to society are just as obvious and are found in religious charity, education, and humanitarian aid. These contributions are quantifiable and may, in and of themselves, justify religion in society. Other societal benefits, however, may be overlooked or minimized.

How can we avoid religious violence in our community? ›

How to Prevent Religious Discrimination
  1. Step 1: Understand What Constitutes Religious Discrimination. ...
  2. Step 2: Create Good Hiring Policies. ...
  3. Step 3: Establish a Zero Tolerance Policy Against Religious Harassment and Discrimination. ...
  4. Step 4: Train Employees. ...
  5. Step 5: Train Managers and Supervisors.

How religious violence impact the growth of the nation? ›

Research suggests that as social and religious conflicts grow, the development of a nation is gravely impacted. Frequent sectarian violence casts a pall over the economy. According to various media reports, as social tensions rise in India, it loses its attractiveness to global investors.

What percentage of conflict is caused by religion? ›

The three volume Encyclopedia of Wars, which records some 1,763 wars that have been waged over the course of human history categorize only 123 as being religious in nature. This is only 6.98% of all wars.

What are the main religions that are mostly affected by globalization? ›

Globalization Engendering Greater Religious Tolerance

[15] Essentially, the world's leading religious traditions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—teach values such as human dignity, equality, freedom, peace, and solidarity.

What are the positive effects of religion in the world and the community? ›

It improves health, learning, economic well-being, self-control, self-esteem, and empathy. It reduces the incidence of social pathologies, such as out-of-wedlock births, crime, delinquency, drug and alcohol addiction, health problems, anxieties, and prejudices.

Videos

1. Psychology of religion | Wikipedia audio article
(wikipedia tts)
2. Peace, Love, Yoga: The Politics of Global Spirituality
(Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs)
3. 2010 Middle East Institute - Regionalising a Region - A new (APEC) Model as a solution to the ,,,
(NUScast)
4. Conflict in Israel and Palestine: Crash Course World History 223
(CrashCourse)
5. Middle East geopolitics explained simply || The Middle East explained in a nutshell
(LondonCityGirl)
6. AP Human Geo: Political & Ethnic Conflict
(Reedy Library)

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