Recognition plays a multifaceted role in international theory. In rarely communicating literatures, the term is invoked to explain creation of new states and international structures; policy choices by state and non-state actors; and normative justifiability, or lack thereof, of foreign and international politics. The purpose of this symposium is to open new possibilities for imagining and studying recognition in international politics by drawing together different strands of research in this area. More specifically, the forum brings new attention to controversies on the creation of states, which has traditionally been a preserve for discussion in International Law, by invoking social theories of recognition that have developed as part of International Relations more recently. It is suggested that broadening imagination across legal and social approaches to recognition provides the resources needed for theories with this object to be of maximal relevance to political practice.