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Alexander Wendt
American political scientist

Alexander Wendt

Alexander Wendt
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American political scientist
Is Political scientist Educator
From Germany United States of America
Field Academia Politics
Gender male
Birth Mainz
The details (from wikipedia)


Alexander Wendt (born 12 June 1958 in Mainz, West Germany) is a political scientist who is one of the core social constructivist scholars in the field of international relations. Wendt and scholars such as Nicholas Onuf, Peter J. Katzenstein, Emanuel Adler, Michael Barnett, Kathryn Sikkink, John Ruggie, Martha Finnemore, and others have, within a relatively short period, established constructivism as one of the major schools of thought in the field. A 2006 survey of American and Canadian International Relations scholars ranks Wendt as first among scholars who have "been doing the most interesting work in international relations in recent years." A 2011 survey of International Relations scholars worldwide ranked Wendt first in terms of having "produced the best work in the field of IR in the past 20 years".


Alexander Wendt was born in 1958 in Mainz in West Germany, attended high school in St. Paul Minnesota and studied political science and philosophy at Macalester College before receiving his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota in 1989, studying under Raymond "Bud" Duvall. Wendt taught at Yale University from 1989 to 1997, at Dartmouth College from 1997 to 1999, at the University of Chicago from 1999 to 2004, and is currently the Ralph D. Mershon Professor of International Security at the Ohio State University. He is married to Jennifer Mitzen, also a member of the Ohio State political science faculty. He is currently working on two projects: arguing for the inevitability of a world state, and investigating the possible implications of quantum mechanics for social science. He is a famously passionate fan of the metal group Metallica, and continued to wear leather jackets well into his 40s.

Social Theory of International Politics

Wendt's most widely cited work to date is Social Theory of International Politics (Cambridge University Press, 1999), which builds on and goes beyond his 1992 article "Anarchy is What States Make of It". Social Theory of International Politics places itself as a response to Kenneth Waltz's 1979 work, Theory of International Politics, the canonical text of the neorealist school.

Quantum Mind and Social Science

Wendt's 2015 book Quantum Mind and Social Science (Cambridge University Press, 2015) examines the crossroads between quantum physics and social science. He advocates for panpsychism and quantum consciousness from a non-specialist perspective. The book has received lackluster reviews. Mathias Albert in International Affairs explains the book as weakest in its attempts to link quantum physics to social science and behind the times in addressing the agent-structure problem, in addition to only marginally relating to international relations. The reviews within the book include Colin Wight's "Do I agree with it? No." and Jerome Busemeyer's "Some of these ideas may ultimately not be supported". However, all of these reviews praise the book for its daring originality and grand theorizing and recommend the book for providing new, interesting work within the field.

Works by Wendt


  • Social Theory of International Politics, Cambridge University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-521-46960-0
  • Quantum Mind and Social Science Unifying Physical and Social Ontology, Cambridge University Press, 2015, ISBN 9781107442924


  • "The agent-structure problem in international relations theory" in International Organization, vol. 41, no. 3, 1987.
  • "Anarchy is what states make of it: the social construction of power politics" in International Organization, vol. 46, no. 2, 1992.
  • "The Difference that Realism Makes: Social Science and the Politics of Consent." (with Ian Shapiro) in 'Politics and Society 20:197-223, 1992
  • “Dependent State Formation and Third World Militarization” (with Michael Barnett) in 'Review of International Studies, 19, 321-347., 1993
  • "Collective identity formation and the international state" in American Political Science Review, vol. 88, no. 2, 1994.
  • “Hierarchy Under Anarchy: Informal Empire and the East German State” (with Daniel Friedheim), International Organization, 49, 689-721, 1995
  • "Constructing international politics" in International Security, vol. 20, no. 1, 1995.
  • “On Constitution and Causation in International Relations,” 'Review of International Studies, 24 (special issue), 101-118, 1998
  • "Driving with the rearview mirror: on the rational science of institutional design", International Organization, vol. 55, no. 4, 2001.
  • "Why a world state is inevitable" in European Journal of International Relations, vol. 9, no. 4, 2003.
  • "The state as person in international theory" in Review of International Studies, vol. 30, no. 2, 2004.
  • "Sovereignty and the UFO" with Raymond Duvall in Political Theory, vol. 36, no. 4, 2008

Chapters in edited volumes

  • "Institutions and International Order." 1989 (with Raymond Duvall) In Global Changes and Theoretical Challenges edited by E. Czempiel, and J. Rosenau. Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books.
  • “The International System and Dependent Militarization” 1992 (with Michael Barnett), in Brian Job, ed., The Insecurity Dilemma: National Security of Third World States, Boulder: Lynne Rienner, pp. 97–119.
  • “Norms, Identity and Culture in National Security” 1996 (with Ronald Jepperson and Peter Katzenstein), in Katzenstein, ed., The Culture of National Security, New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 33–75.
  • “What is IR For?: Notes Toward a Post-Critical View,” 2000 in Richard Wyn Jones, ed., 'Critical Theory and World Politics', Boulder: Lynne Rienner, pp. 205–224.
  • "Rationalism v. Constructivism: A Skeptical View." 2002 (with James Fearon) In 'Handbook of International Relations', edited by W. Carlsnaes, T. Risse, and B. Simmons. London: Sage.
  • "'Social Theory' as Cartesian Science: An Auto-Critique from a Quantum Perspective." 2006 In 'Constructivism and International Relations', edited by Stefano Guzzini and Anna Leander. London: Routledge.
  • "Flatland: Quantum Mind and the International Hologram" 2010 In 'New Systems Theories of World Politics', edited by Mathias Albert, Lars-Erik Cederman and Alexander Wendt. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

As editor

Wendt is coeditor of the journal International Theory.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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