Beyond diffusion: cyclical translation of international rule-of-law commission models in Guatemala

  • Lisbeth ZimmermannEmail author


According to the prevailing diffusion approaches, norms and institutional models in the international realm emerge and are diffused through transnational advocacy networks. According to localisation research, they are adopted and changed by local actors, who adjust them to fit their interests and normative context. Neither approach takes into account the cyclical element of translation. Rather, they both present unidirectional models of diffusion. Focusing on Guatemala, this article shows how institutional models for international rule-of-law commissions in post-conflict states were translated in a cyclical process between different domestic and international contexts. It outlines two modes of cycles in this process: (1) norm application and (2) international norm change.


Guatemala International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) localisation norm diffusion rule-of-law promotion translation 



I would like to thank Anton Peez and the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. This article draws on empirical material presented in Global Norms with a Local Face: Rule-of-Law Promotion and Norm Translation (Cambridge University Press, 2017). I gratefully acknowledge the permission to reproduce this material by Cambridge University Press.


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List of interviews

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  2. Personal interview with CICIG staff, 29 March, 2010, Guatemala City.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF/HSFK)Frankfurt am MainGermany

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