Photo of Dr Irene Fernandez-Molina

Dr Irene Fernandez-Molina

BA (Seville), MA (UCM), PhD (UCM)

Lecturer in International Relations

Amory A026

Irene Fernández-Molina was appointed to the University of Exeter as a lecturer in Middle East Politics in September 2015 and became lecturer in International Relations in March 2017. Her academic interests lie at the intersection of International Relations (foreign policy analysis, subalternity and southern agency, constructivism, conflict studies) and Middle East and North Africa studies, with a particular focus on the Maghreb, as well as EU foreign policy and Euro-Mediterranean relations.

She is the programme coordinator of the MA Politics and International Relations of the Middle East at Exeter. She is also a fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy and a visiting professor at the College of Europe, Bruges campus.

She was previously a research fellow at the European Neighbourhood Policy Chair of the College of Europe, Natolin campus (Warsaw), a Schuman fellow at the Directorate-General for External Policies of the European Parliament (Brussels) and a PhD research fellow at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She earned her PhD in Political Science/International Relations with a thesis on Moroccan foreign policy which led her to conduct fieldwork and stay as a visiting research fellow at various centres in Morocco (Centre Jacques Berque, Institut Marocain des Relations Internationales-IMRI) and France (Institut de Recherche sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman-IREMAM).

The three projects she is currently working on deal with the multilevel politics of recognition in protracted/frozen conflicts, contested state diplomatic practices and the political economy-foreign policy link in contexts of neoliberal 'subalternity'.

Office hours during Term 3, 2017-2018: By appointment

Office: Amory A026

Research interests

Irene Fernández-Molina is currently working on three projects on the multilevel politics of recognition in protracted/frozen conflicts, contested state diplomatic practices and the political economy-foreign policy link in contexts of neoliberal 'subalternity'.

The first of these projects deals with the multilevel politics of recognition in protracted/frozen conflicts and addresses the question of under which conditions recognition initiatives by conflict parties and external actors favour conflict resolution – a so-called ‘recognitional peace’ – or result in unintended consequences. To this end, its builds on the different understandings of recognition that can found in political theory, the social movement literature, IR and conflict/peace studies. By examining recent changes in the Western Sahara conflict as a case study, it is argued that parallel recognition initiatives undertaken by different actors with opposing purposes tend to result in a recognition competition and conflict complexification rather than peace outcomes.

The second project develops the concept of ‘contested state diplomatic practices’ and explores the regular forms of interaction between the representatives of contested states and the EU institutions in Brussels, focusing on the cases of Palestine of Western Sahara, with the aim to contribute to the literatures on diplomatic practices, contested statehood and international recognition. The central argument is that there has been a renewal and expansion of the repertoires of contested state diplomatic practices vis-à-vis the EU, which has entailed a growing overlapping and hybridisation between state-centric and non-state diplomatic practices – a distinction that needs to be problematised when applied to cases in which statehood and state recognition are precisely the critical issues at stake for both sides of the relationship.

The third and newest project is a collective one on ‘Agency within Neoliberal “Subalternity”: Comparing the Political Economy-Foreign Policy Link in Jordan and Morocco’ which has been developed with three colleagues from the universities of Malta, Barcelona (UAB) and Nottingham Trent in the framework of an exploratory symposium supported by the European International Studies Association (EISA) in November 2016.