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”

  • Winner of the 2019 Best Post-Paper Award by the International Studies Association’s Theory Section, for the best paper theorizing international politics by a post-PhD scholar presented at ISA 2019.

While status is considered a fundamental motivation for political action, we still understand little about status-motivated behavior. IR scholars usually explain action based on the logics of consequences or appropriateness. Yet, status-motivated behavior often escapes either logic. To explain it, I develop a new logic of action—expressive rationality, whereby behavior expresses an actor’s self-identification. Following this logic, action carries symbolic meaning, and social influence shapes behavior. Actors adopt the social conventions of the group with whom they identify. Moreover, high-status actors usually act as standard-setters, shaping group membership standards; and as gatekeepers, restricting access to privileges. I demonstrate the value of expressive rationality by using it to shed light on states’ weapons acquisitions, a type of behavior with consequential implications for conflict. Expressive rationality allows us to study status-motivated behavior systematically, rather than treating it as an anomaly. More broadly, it opens new directions for research on symbolic politics.

“Weapons of National Pride: An Experimental Study”

Why do governments buy advanced weapons and put them on display for the domestic public? While weapons research emphasizes strategic factors, I draw from the nationalism literature to argue that weapons owned by high-status countries can become attractive as symbols of national pride, especially among citizens who identify strongly with the nation. I conduct an original set of experiments with members of the U.S. public to assess whether status considerations mobilize support for buying fighter jets. The experimental designs allow me to disentangle status from strategic considerations. I show that status considerations shape weapons evaluations even in a great power like the United States. When status motivations are salient, citizens may be willing to spend more on weapons that do not provide additional strategic advantage. As such, leaders can use weapons to boost national pride without paying the costs of war.