This article introduces a concrete method of constructivist inquiry called norm mapping that illuminates the social dimensions of discrete global security threats and advances the study of democracy and security. Specifically, this article uses the puzzle of incomplete democratization in fragile states to highlight the weaknesses of typical Western liberal approaches that fail to account for pre-existing deep-seated normative preferences. It then introduces norm mapping as a way to analyze and visualize the local normative landscape, providing an empirically grounded model of social intelligence to deepen our understanding of localized political norms (whether regarding political participation, gender equality, nuclear security culture, or government transparency). In doing so, norm mapping allows researchers to pinpoint the real social barriers to normative change and illuminates more reliable pathways for positive transformation. Thus norm mapping not only provides an improved way to theorize how political transformations can take place, but it also provides a practical tool to enhance policy efforts to encourage the embrace of positive norms such as transparency, accountability, and participation.