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 treats status as a function of state attributes, such as wealth and military capability. Following Weber, I argue that status depends on social recognition: it concerns identification processes in which an actor gains admission into a club once they follow the rules of membership. Therefore, systematic social processes, which cannot be reduced to state attributes, influence status. In particular, status is self-reinforcing. Moreover, social closure influences status—which implies that (1) a state's existing relations influence its ability to achieve status and (2) states recognize similar states rather than states with the most impressive portfolio of certain attributes. To investigate the determinants of international status, I move beyond ranking states based on attributes to examine quantitatively 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.

I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University’s Department of Politics and the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance. Starting in 2018, I will be an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Florida State University.
Before coming to Princeton, I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the International Security Program at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the Managing Editor of Security Studies. I earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from The Ohio State University(2016) and an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Brasília (2008). I previously worked in Brazil as a career diplomat in the Ministry of External Relations and an assistant at the Ministry of Defense.
My research explores status in international politics. Working as a diplomat in Brazil during President Lula’s administration, I experienced firsthand the search for status. At the time, Brazilian foreign policy was explicitly concerned about status: like other emerging powers, Brazil wanted to be recognized by the great powers as an equal. Moreover, a growing scholarly consensus indicated that status lay at the root of important phenomena such as hegemonic wars. Yet, scholars and practitioners still do not understand what status is or where it comes from. My research engages these crucial debates by investigating the determinants of international status and its implications for the rise of emerging powers.