Research Network

Constructivist Emotion Research

Emotions, Discourse, and Power in World Politics

Constructivist approaches in International Relations (IR) often emphasize the importance of language for the construction of reality, identity and power relations. It is sometimes overlooked that the discursive exercise of power, for example via status differentiation, is rooted in collective emotions that undergird and reproduce social discourses and identities at the international level. It is argued here that the inclusion of emotions as an additional category of analysis for intersubjectivity allows further questions and that the scope of meanings that emerge from the discussion of emotions is often overlooked in constructivist discourse analysis.


To this end, the interdisciplinary research network “Constructivist Emotion Research (CER)” provides theoretical and conceptual building blocks for emotion-based discourse analysis within the constructivist research paradigm in IR. It is assumed that certain emotion categories can strengthen relational structures of domination and resistance but can also lead to the transformation of social hierarchies in world politics. These assumptions are illustrated empirically using emotion discourses.


The aim of the CER-network is to demonstrate how the integration of emotion as a category of analysis within the social constructivist research program can generate further questions and insights for the study of power and discourses. Constructivism in IR already offers an extensive research program that integrates a variety of concepts such as norms, language, and culture. To this research program, the network adds an additional, yet underexposed, conceptual facet and draws first contours of an emotion-based research agenda within the social constructivist research program.


The research network is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for a duration of two years. It is coordinated by Simon Koschut.