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Grasping the Role of Emotions in IR via Qualitative Content Analysis and Visual Analysis

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Researching Emotions in International Relations

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in International Relations ((PSIR))


The chapter addresses the role emotions play in discursive constructions of self and other in International Relations. It offers a case study of US constructions of Iran in security policy discourse, focusing in particular on the developments leading up to and following right after the 2015 nuclear agreement. In applying a qualitative content analysis of US policy and strategy documents, and a visual analysis of US media cartoons picturing Iran, the Iranian leadership, and US-Iranian relations, the chapter examines how emotions contribute to the US representation of Iran and to the shaping of US security policy towards Iran. This contribution thereby highlights emotions as an important factor for discourse and behaviour in IR.

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  1. 1.

    The Iranian nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed by Iran , the five permanent UN Security Council members (China, France , Russia , UK and US), Germany , and the EU on July 14, 2015 in Vienna.

  2. 2.

    For a review of the nexus between geopolitics and visual culture, see Hughes (2007).

  3. 3.

    Inductive categories may be formed when deductive categories prove too large or when the analysis yields new content beyond the already existing categories.


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de Buitrago, S.R. (2018). Grasping the Role of Emotions in IR via Qualitative Content Analysis and Visual Analysis. In: Clément, M., Sangar, E. (eds) Researching Emotions in International Relations. Palgrave Studies in International Relations. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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