Constructive Illusions

Constructive Illusions

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Are the best international agreements products of mutual understanding? The conventional wisdom in economics, sociology, and political science is that accurate perceptions of others' interests, beliefs, and ideologies promote cooperation. Obstacles to international cooperation therefore emerge from misperception and misunderstanding. In Constructive Illusions, Eric Grynaviski challenges this conventional wisdom by arguing that when nations wrongly believe they share a mutual understanding, international cooperation is actually more likely, and more productive, than if they had a genuine understanding of each othera€™s position. Mutual understanding can lead to breakdowns in cooperation by revealing intractable conflicts of interest, identity, and ideology. Incorrectly assuming a mutual understanding exists, in contrast, can enhance cooperation by making actors confide that collaborative ventures are in both partiesa€™ best interest and that both parties have a reliable understanding of the terms of cooperation. Grynaviski shows how such constructive misunderstandings allowed for cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union between 1972 and 1979. During dActente, the superpowers reached more than 150 agreements, established standing consultative committees, regularly held high-level summit meetings, and engaged in global crisis management. The turn from enmity to cooperation was so stark that many observers predicted a permanent end to the Cold War. Why did the superpowers move from confrontation to cooperation? Grynaviskia€™s theory of the role of misunderstanding in cooperation provides an explanation that is significantly different from liberal institutionalist and constructivist approaches. This booka€™s central claim is that states can form what French president ValAcry Giscard da€™Estaing called qa superb agreement based on complete misunderstanding.qKratochwil and John Ruggiea#39;s statement of purpose for constructivist studies, shared meaning has been used to understand international events as dissimilar as the nonuse of particular types of weapons, the creation and maintenance of military doctrine, the creation of science ... For example, Habermas argues thatanbsp;...

Title:Constructive Illusions
Author: Eric Grynaviski
Publisher:Cornell University Press - 2014-07-11

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