Kanica Rakhra


Kanica Rakhra is a PhD candidate at the Centre for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament at Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi). She focuses on political psychology and her research work looks at the role of Prestige in India and Iran’s Nuclear Programs. She is also currently an editor with E-International Relations and a reviewer for the Peace and Conflict Studies Journal.

Kanica has done her Bachelor of Arts program in the Psychology (Hons.), a Master of Art program in Conflict and Peace Studies and an M.Phil in Diplomacy and Disarmament. Her Masters’ dissertation was on the role of identity in State making of Bangladesh and her M.Phil dissertation was on the different emotions that lead to nuclear decision making in the case studies of Iran and South Africa.

Her PhD takes on the M.Phil dissertation and explores the role of prestige via Social Identity Theory. The research focuses specifically on the concept of prestige and how it is a determining factor for specific state behaviour, which stems from its history, and its experiences. She uses concepts of state self identity to understand its influences on the same with the case studies, India and Iran.

Apart from her education, Kanica has attended summer programs in different parts of the world on Nuclear History (Rome), Strategy (New Delhi), Political Psychology (Tel Aviv) and Comparative Regionalisms (Budapest) and has presented research papers at conferences, both at the national and international level such as CSIS (Washington 2010), Ambedkar University (Delhi 2013), M.G. University (Kerala 2014), Politicologenetmaal (Maastricht 2014), International Society for Political Psychology Annual Conference (Rome 2014), Rajasthan University (Jaipur 2015) and the International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Conventions (2015 and 2016).

She has interned with a private think tank, The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) and worked on a two year project with The Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS). At the think tank, her work involved compiling and editing the fortnightly nuclear newsletter, organizing conferences and writing research papers.

She was also selected for a two year term (2014-2016) as an Early Career Committee member of the International Society for Political Psychology (ISPP). As an ECC member, she conducted interviews of established academics in the field and started a bi-monthly ‘Kudos’ column where promising researchers would share their work within the ISPP community. These efforts lead to an increase in the popularity of the ISPP portal as a stand-alone space for political psychology research.

30.03.2016:  “India’s Nuclear Behavior

23.01.2016:The Nuclear Order Challengers: India and Iran ISSN 2381-3652

31.12.2015: “Prestige and Security: Interlinked, not Separate

15.06.2015: “Iran Analysis: Becoming ‘Acceptable’ –India’s lesson to Tehran for a Nuclear Deal and Beyond”

April-June 2013: “December 13 Attack on Indian Parliament: Looking at Attribution Theory Explanations” for Defense and Diplomacy Journal Vol. 2 (3).

January-March 2013: “Impasse in Iran” for Defense and Diplomacy Journal Vol. 2 (2).

18.12.2011: “Nuclear Disarmament: India-EU Perspectives, ed.” Book Review for Indian Foreign Affairs Journal, Vol. 6 (3)

June 2008: Submitted a special report on “Suicide Terrorism (Jul-Dec 2007): A Review” for Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi.

13.06.2008: Wrote an Article titled “An Inquiry into Suicide Terrorism: Psychological Perspectives” for Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi.

Indian Council for Social Science Research Doctoral Fellowship (2014-2016)

International Studies Association Travel Grant (2016)

The South Asian Studies Network (SASNET) visiting fellowship (February- March 2016)

International Studies Association Travel Grant (2015)

International Relations literature mostly focuses on the need for ‘security’ and its relevance to States. Fear is considered the primary motivator for state decision making. However, there are many states that take risks at the cost of their security. How are their decisions justified? Is there a bigger reason for state decision making than the state’s existence itself?

According to Thomas Hobbes, states have and will continue to act on fear, glory and gain.  Thus, it is at the cost of their fear that they seek glory or gain. It is this glory that I explore in my PhD thesis.

The Respect Research Group provides for a platform where glory and its value clusters, such as respect, prestige and status, are analyzed in different fields. This gives the term a deeper and constructive understanding. By being a part of the group, I wish to contribute to a nuanced development of the term in society.

deckerKanica Rakhra