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The Visual Politics of Recognition: Understanding the Role of Images in Recognition Encounters

The Visual Politics of Recognition: Understanding the Role of Images in Recognition Encounters


Images are an important component of recognition between states: official photographs of high-level summit meetings, or images circulated by state representatives over Twitter, are used to visualise positive or negative interstate relationships that reflect, or challenge, established recognition dynamics. Despite the political importance of recognition, there are currently no studies on the visual politics of this process in International Relations. The purpose of the VISUAL project is to take the field a step further through the development of an innovative and original typology for the visual politics of recognition.

In VISUAL we have the unique opportunity to advance our knowledge of the role images play in global politics. Using a theoretically-driven, exploratory analytical methodology employing a mixed-methods approach, the project theorizes and conceptualises successful and failed recognition by situating images within a process we know is politically significant: EU, NATO and G7 summit meetings and the acrimonious Iran-US relationship. In addition hereto, VISUAL explores the role of gender in the visual politics of recognition, developing a feminist visual methodology, the first of its kind in International Relations. Using the 'case plus study' methodology, VISUAL will address three main research questions across three sub-studies: 1) What are the visual modalities of recognition, successful and failed? 2) How are rival interpretations of recognition in the Iran-US relationship visualised? 3) How are gender norms reproduced or challenged in images signifying successful or failed recognition?

I will significantly benefit from a placement at the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen, under the supervision of Professor Lene Hansen, as it is the premiere international institution for the theoretical and empirical study of images in the field of International Relations.
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Norregade 10
1165 Kobenhavn


Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 219 312

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 838856


Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 September 2020

  • End date

    31 August 2022

Funded under:


  • Overall budget:

    € 219 312

  • EU contribution

    € 219 312

Coordinated by: