A City Guide To Zhoucun for The Normative Nature of Theory Political theory is inherently critical. To criticize means to judge. To judge means to measure something against certain standards. The inherently critical nature of political theory derives from its concern for norms. For this reason interpretive political theory is often called normative theory. A norm is an authoritative rule or standard. The word norm derives from norma, which is the Latin word for a carpenter’s square. A City Guide To Zhoucun 2016.