Constructing a new orthodoxy? Wendt’s “social theory of international politics” and the constructivist challenge
Assessing “progress” in the scientiﬁc study of international politics faces several diﬃculties. There is initially the issue of the objects of study and how the subject matter shall be delineated. Subsequently, there is the issue of the criteria by which we can produce warranted knowledge. One position argues that true knowledge can only be gained by following a particular method. Popular since Descartes, this stance is nowadays best represented by the unity of science position whereby anything claiming to have scientiﬁc status has to follow a speciﬁed method. An alternative contention proposes that, ﬁrst of all, “knowledge” should not simply be identiﬁed with one mode of knowing, particularly since even within science there exist many diﬀerent warrants that cannot be reduced to one criterion.