Studying Emotions in Security and Diplomacy: Where We Are Now and Challenges Ahead

Michelle Pace, Ali Bilgic

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The core objective of this special issue has been to shed light on emotions as (1) frames that shape interpersonal diplomatic relations, (2) as key tools that are used as part of the statecraft's toolbox, and (3) as formative/productive dynamics with real effects on human beings—that, in turn, often construct and maintain conflicts. It is therefore pertinent that we interrogate the political psychology of individual, collective, mass, and communal emotions and how these are often (mis)used in diplomacy and security narratives to legitimize politicians' decisions and practices. This concluding article provides a state of the art account of the study of emotions in International Relations (IR), sums up the main findings from all special issue contributions and constructively explores potential challenges ahead for the study of emotions in IR, especially in security and diplomacy studies. It concludes with an appeal for the development of a multiperspective approach—that is, one that combines social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities—for a nuanced study of the role of emotional work in state, diplomatic as well as security narratives and practices. This approach will in turn require methodological pluralism in how we go about, as reflexive researchers, our emotional research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Psychology
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1407-1417
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Important note from the Publisher regarding the attached version of the article: "This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Pace, M. and Bilgic, A. (2019), Studying Emotions in Security and Diplomacy: Where We Are Now and Challenges Ahead. Political Psychology, 40: 1407-1417. doi:10.1111/pops.12635, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions."


  • Emotions
  • Security
  • diplomacy
  • statecraft
  • conflict
  • affective turn
  • methodology
  • political psychology
  • interpersonal relations
  • individual emotions
  • collective emotions
  • mass emotions
  • communal emotions
  • international relations
  • multiperspective approach
  • social sciences
  • natural sciences
  • humanities
  • reflexive researcher
  • emotional research
  • methodological pluralism

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