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Alexander Wendt (born 1958 in Mainzmarker, West Germanymarker) is one of the core social constructivist scholars in the field of international relations. Wendt and scholars such as Nicholas Onuf, Peter J. Katzenstein, Emmanuel Adler, Michael Barnett, Kathryn Sikkink, John Ruggie, Martha Finnemore, and others have, within a relatively short period of time, established constructivism as one of the major schools of thought in the field. In a recent survey Wendt was listed as the third most influential scholar of international relations in the world.


Alexander Wendt was born in 1958 in Mainzmarker in West Germany, and read political science and philosophy at Macalester Collegemarker before receiving his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesotamarker in 1989, studying under Raymond "Bud" Duvall. Wendt taught at Yale Universitymarker from 1989 to 1997, at Dartmouth Collegemarker from 1997 to 1999, at the University of Chicagomarker from 1999 to 2004, and is currently the Ralph D. Mershon Professor of International Security at the Ohio State Universitymarker. 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.

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.

Works by Wendt


  • Social Theory of International Politics, Cambridge University Press, 1999, ISBN 0521469600


  • "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


Wendt is coeditor of the new journal, International Theory.

Major Areas of Interest



Dale C. Copeland, "The Constructivist Challenge to Structural Realism: A Review Essay" International Security Vol. 25, No. 2 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 187–212

Gillian Wylie, "International Relations' via Media: Still under Construction" International Studies Review Vol. 2, No. 3 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 123–126

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