International Relations

Wendt's Blindspot: The limits of the (re)construction of collective identity and why the self-help system cannot be overcome.

Getulio Neto PPGRI San Tiago Dantas (UNESP/UNICAMP/PUC-SP)
The objective of this article is to identify the limits of Wendt’s (1992, 1994) theory, in which he suggests the possibility of states to overcome the self-help system through the creation of a collective identity. I too take the constructivist premise that identities and interests are socially constructed , but I argue that the dimension of politics limits the scope for real altruistic interests of states. My hypothesis is that these limits rest neither on the international structure nor on human nature, but are a feature of political relations. However, this assumption does not mean co-operation is impossible or should not be pursued. I base my argument on the Schmittian concept of the political, as defined by the antithesis friend-enemy. I shall conclude that as long collective identities form political entities, there will be the potentiality of a conflict which inhibits the creation of an international collective identity.