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Gallagher, Julia (2016) 'Creating a state: A Kleinian reading of recognition in Zimbabwe’s regional relationships.' European Journal of International Relations, 22 (2). pp. 384-407.

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This article contributes to recent debates about mutual recognition between states, and, more broadly, to discussions of the role of emotion in International Relations. It challenges ‘moral claims’ made in some of the literature that interstate recognition leads to a progressive erosion of difference or a pooling of identity, and underlying assumptions that recognition constitutes a stage in the development of states that have already established internal coherence. Instead, it claims that processes of recognition are fractious and unstable, characterised by aggression and self-assertion, as well as affection and the creation of a ‘we-feeling’, and that such processes are an enduring feature of state identity. Using the case of Zimbabwe — a state that is clearly fractured, with an apparently insecure collective identity — the article explores how recognition both challenges and reinforces state selfhood through dynamics that are bumpy, intense and unstable. It moves on to develop a theoretical interpretation of these dynamics by drawing on the work of psychoanalyst Melanie Klein, showing links between individual psychic anxiety and collective need for a state that exists uneasily but inextricably in relation to others. The article concludes that international recognition works as a way both to establish and to challenge state coherence.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Melanie Klein, object-relations theory, recognition, statehood, Zimbabwe
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
ISSN: 1354-0661
Copyright Statement: © The Author(s) 2015. This is the accepted manuscript of an article published by SAGE in European Journal of International Relations, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2018 08:14

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