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TRANSNORMS - Translating International Norms between the Global and the Local


Freie Universität Berlin

Principal Investigator:

DFG (Reinhart Koselleck-Projekt)

Apr 01, 2019 — Mar 31, 2024

TRANSNORMS is a five-year research project funded by the DFG's “Reinhart Koselleck” scheme. The main research question is: How and under what conditions are norms translated “between the global and the local?

  • Theoretically, we integrate compliance and diffusion research with work on legal transfers and on cultural translations. So far, these literatures have been largely disconnected, partly because of allegedly incompatible ontological and epistemological assumptions.
  • Methodologically, we explore to what extent automated content analyses are suitable to understand subtle differences in meanings, and how these techniques can be paired with qualitative analyses. The project thus introduces concepts from computational social science (text as data, quantitative text analysis, e.g. topic modeling) to international norms research.
  • Empirically, we investigate processes of norm translation in two policy areas. First, we study the global politics of climate change, with norms being translated between the global (UNFCCC) and the domestic level (national and local policy formulation). Second, we analyze norm translation in the area of human rights and the rule of law.

As project partners, we cooperate with the Department for Natural Language Processing, Institute of Computer Science, University of Leipzig (Prof. Dr. Gerhard Heyer, Christian Kahmann).

News and events

  • October 2020: Presentation at the DVPW IB-Sektionstagung in Freiburg (virtual meeting). “How do states interpret the Paris Agreement? Quantitative text analysis of responses to the UNFCCC.”