Constance Duncombe
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Representation, recognition and emotion
in Representation, recognition and respect in world politics
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This chapter demonstrates how emotions frame and are framed by the representations evident within discourse surrounding Iran–United States relations, which then drive the struggle for recognition and respect. The emotions underpinning both Iranian and US representations securitise the notions of ‘threat’ or ‘danger’, whether imminent or long-standing. They produce a particular desire to be recognised in the way that each state sees itself, not through the representational nexus that is built by the other state. As a result, a sense of mistrust or apprehension regarding foreign policy choices and activities is reinforced over time. A struggle for recognition emerges, wherein each state attempts to act on behalf of its own representational schema, influenced variously by humiliation and empathy. The decision to engage in a struggle for recognition on the part of Iran is fostered by the belief that resisting and challenging US representations of Iran will result in Iran being treated with respect in the international system. Iran’s nuclear program is the key foreign policy issue through which the struggle for recognition is exemplified.

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