Leading Constructivist Scholar Martha Finnemore at MGIMO

25 September 2019

September 16th to 20th, MGIMO welcomed one of the most prominent modern international researchers, the Professor at George Washington University Martha Finnemore. The guest conducted a series of lectures at the University, supported by The Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation.

Martha Finnemore is one of the most famous constructivist scholars, who made a significant contribution to the study of how the diffusion of international norms impacts states’ foreign policy.

Her most famous works are National Interests in International Society, The Purpose of Intervention, Rules for the World (co-authored by Michael Barnett), and Back to Basics, all of which contributed to making constructivism one of the main paradigms in international relations. She was awarded prestigious international awards for her publications. 

During her time at the University, Martha Finnemore delivered three lectures on the main topics she devoted her career to. September 16th, she gave a talk on the origins and evolution of constructivism, which has become over time a leading international relations paradigm.

In her second lecture, which unfolded on September 18th, Marta Finnemore outlined her main findings regarding how and why states carry out armed interventions abroad. She highlighted the evolution in the use of military means and the end of interventions for debt collection after the Second World War. Foreign wars still take place but interventions are justified with other motives, she noted.

September 18th, there was a round table on the visiting scholar’s most famous articles: «International Norm Dynamics and Political Change» (co-authored with Katherine Sikkink). During the round table, Martha Finnemore explained how her perspective on norms evolved during the 20 years following the publication of the article and other speakers shared their views on the topic.

Professor Finnemore’s third lecture (September 19th) was devoted to the evolution of rules and norms on the world stage. The guests discussed with the audience the topic she is currently concentrating her efforts on: norm creation and implementation in cyberspace. 

On her last day, Martha Finnemore organized a master class for PhD students and employees of the University, during which she explained how to prepare articles to be published in highly rated international journals. She is one of the editors of the journal «International Organization», one of the most influential journals in this field.

Martha Finnemore’s lectures were greatly appreciated by students and faculty members alike, as reflected by the many questions put to her during and after her talks. The visit of such a prominent scholar enriches academic discussions and encourages publication activities in the University. The visit took place in the framework of a program, supported by The Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation, which has been running for several years and has for goal to invite authoritative international scholars to MGIMO.

Leading Constructivist Scholar Martha Finnemore at MGIMO