Representation, recognition and respect in world politics

The case of Iran-US relations

By Constance Duncombe

Representation, recognition and respect in world politics


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Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4804-9
  • Pages: 248
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.00
  • Published Date: March 2020
  • BIC Category: POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General, POLITICAL SCIENCE / General, Iran, United States of America, USA, Society & social sciences / International relations, Politics, HISTORY / Middle East / Iran, POLITICAL SCIENCE / American Government / General


This timely book explains how recognition and misrecognition have the power to fuel conflict and to initiate reconciliation.

Constance Duncombe presents a detailed conceptual and empirical investigation of one of the most significant flashpoints in global politics: the fraught bilateral relations between the US and Iran. Duncombe uses this relationship to explore the importance of representation in shaping the identity of a state, as well as how it is recognised by others on the world stage.

In 2015, Iran and the US reached an agreement on the framework for a long-term deal that allows Iran limited nuclear technological capacity in exchange for the lifting of debilitating economic sanctions. In light of decades of animosity between Iran and the US, which previously thwarted attempts on both sides to reach an amicable agreement, this book asks how we can best explain the initial success of this deal given the Trump administration's 2018 US withdrawal from the agreement.


'This fascinating book is a valuable, well-written and thought-provoking addition to the study of international relations, foreign policy, diplomacy, political psychology and US-Iranian relations. Its critical and balanced approach reinforces discussions on the power of emotions, stories and identities in shaping relations between states and societies, and contributes to a growing literature on these ideas.'
International Affairs

'Duncombe shows 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, Senior Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute of International Relations in The Hague#

'A timely reminder of identity's key importance to foreign policymaking, and a convincing reading of how past injuries muddy present concerns.'
Iver B. Neumann, author of Diplomatic Tenses


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


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

Representation, recognition and respect in world politics

By Constance Duncombe

Paperback £20.00 / $29.95

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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