Duque, Marina G. 2018. Recognizing International Status: A Relational Approach. International Studies Quarterly 62(3): 577–592.

Duque, Marina Guedes. 2009. “The Copenhagen School’s Contribution to International Security Studies” [in Portuguese]. Contexto Internacional 31(3): 459-501.


Duque, Marina. 2016. “The Rascals’ Paradise: Brazilian National Identity in 2010.” In Making Identity Count: Building a National Identity Database, edited by Ted Hopf and Bentley B. Allan, 47-62. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.


“The Logic of Expressive Rationality”

States adopt seemingly disparate strategies to achieve status, such as increasing their military capabilities or adopting prevailing norms. Why do status-seekers behave the way they do? Although IR scholars usually explain behavior based on the logics of consequences or appropriateness, neither logic can adequately account for status-seeking behavior. To explain status-seeking, I develop to a third logic of action—expressive rationality, whereby behavior expresses an actor’s desired group affiliation. Following this logic, high-status actors act as standard-setters, by defining the rules of membership for a club, and as gatekeepers, by deciding whether to admit aspiring members. On the other hand, status-seekers emulate the club with whom they identify. To demonstrate how expressive rationality can improve our understanding of international politics, I apply it to two different types of status-seeking behavior: weapons acquisition and norm adoption. I offer preliminary evidence that expressive rationality gives us additional explanatory leverage over instances of political behavior with consequential implications for international conflict and cooperation. Expressive rationality allows us to study status-seeking behavior systematically, rather than treating it as an anomaly. In addition, an expressive logic specifies how status-related processes may help maintain international order.

“Signaling Status with Military Weapons: Experimental Evidence” (w/ Kathleen Powers)

Why do states invest in costly weapons like aircraft carriers or new fighter jets, even when these weapons offer limited strategic advantages? Wilhelmine Germany built an expensive battleship fleet against their security interests, and more recently China directed vast resources into aircraft carriers while Australia purchased F-35 jets despite concerns about their efficacy relative to older models. Existing research suggests that advanced weapons appeal to status-seekers not only for their military functions, but because they symbolize membership in the club of modern states. Leaders may use weapons acquisitions to signal status to both domestic and international audiences. We conduct an original conjoint experiment with members of the American public to assess whether status considerations mobilize public support for weapons purchases. Using a conjoint design that controls for costs and strategic considerations, we test whether members of the public prefer to invest in weapons that are either a) described as exclusive, luxury goods or b) held by other high-status states. The experimental design allows us to disentangle status from strategic considerations and advance IR research on how status motivations affect foreign policy.