Constructivism’s Micro-Foundations: Aspirations, Social Identity Theory, and Russia’s National Interests, Draft / American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, August 28 - September 1, 2013
Clunan, Anne L.
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This paper employs an aspirational constructivist approach that brings together social psychology and constructivism to provide causal microfoundations for the identities and statusseeking behavior of rising and declining power. It explains how the psychological need for collective self-esteem and value rationality, and construction of multiple ingroups and outgroups, shape its national identity, its status aspirations and international behavior. It applies this approach to post-Soviet Russia, where the elite converged around a status-driven national selfimage that located Russia in the group of global great powers and the West. Contrary to oftrepeated warnings of a new Cold War, however, this identity generated diffuse national interests in social, rather than material, competition for global status, primarily with the United States.