A Grounded Approach to Studying Norms and Change: Latin American Conceptions of Order and the Belt and Road Initiative

Activity: Talk or presentation typesPresentation


This paper presents an approach to studying conceptions of order, norms, and change respectively, that builds upon the guidelines of constructivist Grounded Theory (GT). Moreover, the paper provides reflections on the consequences of choices regarding methodology, ontology, and epistemology for the research process. The subsequent operationalisation of such a grounded approach in terms of methods for source and data construction is illustrated on the example of an enquiry into implications of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for Latin American conceptions of order. More generally, the paper explores the employment of GT as a methodology in relation to constructivist norm research and English School projects. As such, it discusses the benefits and challenges of grounding the construction of theory in empirical material that represents and co-constitutes the thoughts and ideas of statespersons regarding patterns of order and norms – especially concerning the current debate on constructing a 'Global IR' and giving space to voices from the Global South. To that end, the relevance of meaning in the use of language, its multiplicity and context-dependency as well as metaphor and framing theory for uncovering differing constructions of meaning in discourse are demonstrated with examples relating to Latin America and the BRI.
Period8 Dec 2020
Event titleTaller en Relaciones Internacionales para Investigadores de Carrera Temprana
Event typeConference
LocationSantiago, ChileShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Global IR
  • Grounded Theory
  • Cognitive Linguistics
  • Metaphors
  • Framing
  • Meaning-in-use
  • Primary Institutions
  • Norm Change
  • Regional Orders
  • English School