Abstract. How do states achieve status? Although we rely on status to explain important phenomena in international politics—such as wars and the foreign policy of emerging powers—we still do not understand what status is or where it comes from. Previous research assumes that status is a function of state attributes such as wealth and military capability, but does not examine that assumption systematically. Following Weber, I argue that status is founded on social recognition: it concerns identification processes in which an actor is admitted into a club once they follow the rules of membership. Therefore, systematic social processes, which cannot be reduced to state attributes, influence status. Specifically, status is self-reinforcing and influenced by social closure—which implies that (i) a state’s existing relations influence its ability to achieve status, and (ii) states recognize similar states rather than states with the most attributes. To investigate the determinants of international status, I move beyond ranking states based on attributes to examine empirically how status emerges from state relations. Leveraging inferential network analysis, I examine state practices that express recognition—specifically, the network of embassies. The analysis indicates that self-reinforcing dynamics and social closure, rather than state attributes directly, drive status recognition.
Duque, Marina Guedes. 2009. “The Synthesis Made by the Copenhagen School in International Security Studies.” Contexto Internacional, 31(3): 459-501 [in Portuguese].
Duque, Marina. 2016. “The Rascals’ Paradise: Brazilian National Identity in 2010.” In Making Identity Count: Building a National Identity Database, eds. Ted Hopf and Bentley B. Allan. New York: Oxford University Press pp. 47-62
Work in Progress
“The Foundations of the International Status Hierarchy”
“The Case for a Status Model of Recognition”
“The Logic of Expressive Rationality”
“Patterns of Visa Diplomacy: The International Travel Freedom Dataset (2006-2015)” (w/ Andrew Rosenberg)
Book Manuscript: “Status in International Politics”
What is international status, and where does it come from? Whereas previous IR research focuses on the state level by considering status as a motivation, I treat status as relational. Following Weber, I conceptualize status as an effective claim to social esteem. Status is ultimately founded on social recognition: it concerns identity formation processes in which an actor is deemed as belonging in a social group because they adopt the distinctive lifestyle expected from group members. As such, status relations are characterized by the formation of groups bound together by dense relations and a common lifestyle, which involves both material and non-material symbols. Empirically, this approach enables me to move beyond measuring status symbols to examine how status emerges from state relations. Leveraging state-of-the-art network analysis, I examine state practices that express recognition—specifically, the network of diplomatic representations. As expected, I find that status relations are characterized by self-reinforcing dynamics and social closure, neither of which can be explained using traditional approaches. Moreover, the lifestyle of contemporary high-status states involves not only the ability to fend for oneself under anarchy, but also a standard of civilization based on democracy and economic freedom. In fact, civilizational standards are the main drivers of status recognition. More generally, results indicate that status has a broader role in international politics than previously assumed—one of promoting international order rather than exacerbating conflict.