Photo of Dr Irene Fernandez-Molina

Dr Irene Fernandez-Molina

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.