Psychology and Constructivism in International Relations

An Ideational Alliance
Vaughn P. Shannon and Paul A. Kowert, Editors

Psychology and constructivism together offer new ways of understanding international relations


Constructivist IR scholars study the ways in which international norms, culture, and identities—all intersubjective phenomena—inform foreign policy and affect the reaction to and outcomes of international events. Political psychologists similarly investigate divergent national self-conceptions as well as the individual cognitive and emotional propensities that shape ideology and policy. Given their mutual interest in human subjectivity and identity politics, a dialogue and synthesis between constructivism and political psychology is long overdue.

The contributors to this volume discuss both theoretical and empirical issues of complementarity and critique, with an emphasis on the potential for integrating the viewpoints within a progressive ideational paradigm. Moreover, they make a self-conscious effort to interrogate, rather than gloss over, their differences in the hope that such disagreements will prove particularly rich sources of analytical and empirical insight. 

"The conversation between political psychology and constructivism is essential and long overdue. By exploring the interaction of individual cognition and social processes, this 'ideational alliance' more fully explains how ideas work all the way down to shape world politics."
—Theo Farrell, King's College London

"This is a worthwhile and engaging volume. Political psychology is gaining ground as an essential perspective to consider when analyzing international relations, and the book's focus on constructivism provides key insights into the relationship between identity, norms, and behavior—bedrock concepts in understanding the social underpinnings of global politics."
—Mira Sucharov, Carleton University

"An indispensable guide to understanding what distinguishes and what unites psychology and constructivism. A wonderful resource for political psychologists, constructivists, and their critics."
—Jonathan Mercer, University of Washington

Jacket illustration © Ocean Photography/Veer

Vaughn P. Shannon is Associate Professor of Political Science at Wright State University.

Paul A. Kowert is Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at Florida International University.

Praise / Awards

  • " essential contribution to the study of world politics. Highly recommended."
    —Y. Polsky, West Chester University, Choice

Look Inside

Table of Contents

Product Details

  • 298 pages.
  • 7 figures, 6 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2011
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-02781-1

  • PDF: Adobe Digital Editions e-book (DRM Protected)

Add to Cart
  • $69.95 U.S.

  • Kindle

Add to Cart

Choosing any of the above format options will take you to the appropriate e-retailer to complete your purchase. Pricing may vary by individual e-retailer. Please see e-retailer site for purchasing information.

For more information about our Digital Products, including reading systems and accessible formats, visit our Digital Products page.

Related Products

Add to Cart
  • $84.95 U.S.



  • political psychology, international politics, international relations theory, foreign policy, decision making, constructivism, identity, norms, ideational, logic of appropriateness