Identity" problematique in international relations theory
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This study aims to provide an assessment of ‘identity’ conceptualizations in International Relations theory generally, and in constructivism particularly. The underlying argument is that ‘identity’ takes different meanings and refers to divergent categorical realms in the IR theory literature. The notion of ‘identity’ has been taken in different senses among constructivists as well. Ironically, the same term, identity, is employed sometimes to defend two opposing views in the discipline of IR. Therefore, ‘identity’ is an ambiguous term in constructivism and in IR theory. Moreover, ‘identity’ is a vague term even in the literature of conventional constructivists, who are most frequent users of the term in the field. Although the conventional constructivists produce the same notion of ‘identity’ among themselves, their works suffer from the problem of ‘obscurity’ and ‘vagueness’. Thus, ‘identity’ among conventional constructivists is not ambiguous, because they refer to the same category. Yet, the term is left unexplained and vague. All these intellectual failures in the studies of ‘identity’ are troublesome for some IR theorists but fatal for constructivist scholars. Therefore, this work offers an alternative way to conceptualize identity by bringing in ‘identification’ theory and the Jürgen Habermas’ approaches. While identification theory can eliminate the ‘ambiguity’ problem in identity studies in the field, Habermasian theorizing may help to study ‘identity’ in constructivism in an analytically clear respect.