This chapter lays out the theoretical and analytical framework of this study. It starts with a review of the literature on the book’s central research problem, which is continuity and change of U.S. grand strategy, in particular since the end of the Cold War. After reviewing, in particular, neorealist, neoclassical realist, and some existing political economy accounts the chapter concludes that none of these established approaches can sufficiently account for the puzzle of both the strong continuities and the significant variations of U.S. grand strategy. The chapter then proceeds by outlining the meta-theoretical foundations of our alternative approach, which is rooted in critical political economy. Offering a perspective on the dialectical interplay of structure and agency over time the chapter explicates what we call our “transformational model” of U.S. grand strategy. In this model we link the agency of grand-strategy makers to their structural context, in particular the global context, and the (perceived) position of the U.S. within it, and what we identify as their social position. The latter refers to the social networks in which U.S. grand-strategy makers are located in terms of their (previously held) institutional, political and corporate affiliations. We will subsequently argue, within the context of our particular theorization of the U.S. state–capital nexus, that these social networks are centered around America’s corporate elite