Representation, recognition and respect in world politics

The case of Iran-US relations

By Constance Duncombe

Representation, recognition and respect in world politics


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2493-7
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £96.00 (incl. VAT)
  • Published Date: January 2019
  • BIC Category: Politics, HISTORY / Middle East / Iran, POLITICAL SCIENCE / American Government / General, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General, POLITICAL SCIENCE / General, Iran, United States of America, USA, Society & social sciences / International relations


This book addresses a critical issue in global politics: how recognition and misrecognition fuel conflict or initiate reconciliation. The main objective of this book is to demonstrate how representations of one state by another influence foreign policymaking behaviour. Representations are important because they shape both the identity of a state and how it is recognised by others. States respond to representations of themselves that do not fit with how they wish to be recognised. These issues are explored within a detailed empirical investigation of the fraught bilateral relations between the US and Iran, which is perhaps one of the most significant flashpoints in global politics today. With Iran and US relations becoming increasingly fractious under the Trump administration, questions remain about how best to explain the initial success of the deal considering the decades of animosity between Iran and the US.


"Constance Duncombe shows convincingly, and with theoretical sophistication, how emotion interferes with exchanges between governments that are usually presented as rational international dialogue. This is a timely and important book on the way in which the politics of respect and disrespect impact on governments' representations and recognition of hostile states, and the policies crafted to deal with their elites."

Jan Melissen, Editor-in-Chief of The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Professor of Diplomacy at the University of Antwerp, and Senior Fellow at Leiden University and the Clingendael Institute in The Hague

"States do what they do because they are what they are, and vice versa. Duncombe does a fine job of demonstrating how two states have invested in certain representations of the Other, and how these representations underwrite stable interaction patterns. Duncombe delivers a timely reminder of identity's key importance to foreign policymaking, and a convincing reading of how past injuries muddy present concerns. The even-handed analysis of the two states is exemplary."

Iver B. Neumann, author of Uses of the Other


Constance Duncombe is Lecturer in International Relations at Monash University, Australia


Introduction: Representation, recognition and respect in world politics
Part I: Conceptualising the relationship between representation, recognition and identity
1 Representation and foreign policy
2 Recognition and foreign policy
Part II: State identity and foreign policy in Iran and the US
3 Identity and foreign policy
4 Iranian state identity
Part III: Reciprocal representations of identity in Iran and the US
5 US representations of Iran and its nuclear program
6 Iranian representations of US and Iran's nuclear program
7 Representation, recognition and emotion
Conclusion: Representation, recognition and possibilities for transformative change
List of interview
Select bibliography

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