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TRANSNORMS - Translating International Norms between the Global and the Local


Freie Universität Berlin


DFG (Reinhart Koselleck-Projekt)

01.04.2019 — 31.03.2024

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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, Dr. Christian Kahmann).

News and events

  • March 2022: Poster Session at the ISA (virtual session): “Translating International Norms into Domestic Action? A Quantitative Text Analysis of National Policy Responses to Climate Change.”
  • September 2021: Panel at the DVPW congress: “Neue analytische und methodische Perspektiven auf die Forschung zu (internationalen) Normen.“
  • April 2021: Panel at the ISA (virtual meeting) 09:30-10:45. "How do states interpret the Paris Agreement? Quantitative text analysis of responses to the UNFCCC
  • March 2021: Presentation and debate at the TU Darmstadt (virtual meeting): “How do states translate the regime's norm bundle? The case of climate change in the context of the Paris Agreement."
  • 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.”

Meet the team

June 2021: First TRANSNORMS Team Meeting at Biergarten Tempelhofer Feld