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Lora Anne Viola

ViolaLoraJean Monnet/GGP Fellow

Freie Universität Berlin




Biographical Note

Lora Anne Viola is currently a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute. She is on leave from the Freie Universität Berlin where she is Assistant Professor in the Politics Department of the John F. Kennedy Institute. She received a PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago, a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Economics from Columbia University in New York City. Before joining the Freie Universität she was a Senior Research Fellow at the Social Sciences Research Center Berlin (WZB) and a visiting scholar at Stanford and Oxford Universities.

Viola’s research interests include international institutions and global order, inequality in the international system, international relations theory, historical institutionalism, and US foreign policy and diplomacy. She has published on the G20, changing patterns of IO governance, sovereignty and inequality, and US foreign policy. She is currently working on an edited volume on historical institutionalism in IR and a book manuscript on institutions and inequality. 

Lora Anne Viola is recipient of the 2015 American Political Science Association’s Alexander George Award for the best journal article developing or applying qualitative methods. She, along with her co-author Thomas Rixen (University of Bamberg) received the award for their article ‘Putting path dependence in its place: toward a Taxonomy of institutional change’, Journal of Theoretical Politics 2015, Vol. 27(2) 301–323.


Research Project

“Groupification” and the Transformation of Governance Institutions

How does the shifting balance of power away from Europe and the US and the rise of new international actors shape international institutions? This project investigates the institutional “coping mechanisms” that actors turn to under conditions of actor heterogeneity. It argues that under conditions of multipolarity (no hegemon to impose collective preferences) and actor heterogeneity (highly diverse preferences), we should expect governance institutions to prefer selective membership rules, informal designs, and network governance. In an environment of actor heterogeneity, such “clubs of common interest” can facilitate policy coordination and consensus, and mitigate powerful actors’ fears of exploitation and redistribution. At the same time, these characteristics present institutions with a number of legitimacy challenges.