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Title: Imagining empathy : counterfactual methods and the US-Iran security dilemma
Author: Baker, Joshua George
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2017
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The overall contribution of this thesis is to develop a conceptualisation of empathy for the security dilemma, and to empirically explore this conceptualisation through a counterfactual case study of US foreign policy towards Iran, 2001-2010. It achieves this in three stages. First, it shows how the concept of empathy has long been implicitly central to security dilemma theorising. In particular, it demonstrates that security dilemma theorists have drawn upon implicit and unspecified notions of empathy in order to answer the crucial question of how security dilemma dynamics between adversaries can be overcome. Second, it addresses this omission by developing a conceptualisation of empathy that speaks to the unique context of the security dilemma. In mediating between different understandings of empathy across a number of literatures, the thesis proposes a conceptualisation that emphasises the importance of reflexivity and notions of difference. And third, it uses an innovative counterfactual methodology to empirically map the dynamics of empathy onto US foreign policy towards Iran. In doing so the thesis shows how empathy can promote cooperation between adversaries in some instances, but can be inhibited by broader contextual factors in others.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JC Political theory ; JK Political institutions (United States) ; JZ International relations