Thick Recognition: Advancing thoery on identity change in intractable conlficts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study relates the concept of recognition to processes of conflict transformation. The recognition concept has been underdeveloped in recent IR literature, where the main emphasis has been on interstate relations and on recognition as cause of conflict.
This article challenges that understanding through the introduction of the concept of thick recognition. Thus an understanding of recognition which is applicable also in intrastate conflicts is developed. Through a strong emphasis on intrastate relations and
identity politics, I develop thoughts on how narratives of war can be reversed through the introduction of narratives of recognition. The study thus provides theoretical concepts and distinctions that can be used as a framework for the study of thick recognition and its relationship to broader processes of conflict transformation. The theoretical framework is employed in a case study on the Israeli debates about ‘New History’. Insights from the case contribute to understandings of inhibiting and facilitating circumstances for the introduction of narratives of thick recognition in conflicted societies. The study ends with a discussion on the usefulness of the
theoretical concepts for further work on recognition within the field of IR.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • Intrastate war, intractable conflict, thick recognition, Israel, history, identity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-191
JournalEuropean Journal of International Relations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch