Researcher biography

Constance Duncombe is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland, Australia. She received her PhD in International Relations at the University of Queensland in 2014, and has worked as a research fellow on an ARC project that examines how images shape responses to humanitarian crises.

Her research interests lie within critical and interdisciplinary engagements with contemporary world politics. She is particularly interested in the challenges associated with conceptualizing the political power of recognition and respect as it relates to interstate engagement and foreign policy. Additional research interests include Middle East politics and culture, and the politics of new media.


Research Interests

  • Representation, Recognition and Respect: Foreign Policy and the Iran-US Relationship 
    I investigate how representations of one state by another influence foreign policymaking behaviour. I examine the issues at stake through an analysis of the reciprocal representations present within the Iran-US relationship. In the realm of IR representations are important but overlooked - they shape both the identity of a state and the extent to which it is recognised by others. Failed recognition produces disrespect and can lead to serious policy crises, as exemplified by the Iran-US tension over nuclear issues.


  • Social Media and Transformative Diplomacy 
    I explore how the interplay social media, affect and diplomacy has influenced state behaviour. I focus specifically on the affective and recognitive dimensions of Iran’s use of Twitter to interact (un)officially with the US and the UK. Social media posts by state representatives reflect and frame state identity and how a state wishes to be recognised by its others. If we are attuned to these dynamics, shifts in representational patters communicated through social media during high-level negotiations allow for realizations of political possibilities for change.


  • The Politics of Horror 
    I examine how violent social media images produced by terror groups provoke affective responses in states, influencing their foreign policy. I focus on the UK and its affective response to the violent social media images produced by ISIS. I have been awarded a UQ Early Career Researcher Grant for 2017 to assist in the development of this project.