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Textualizing Democracy: The Norwegian Constitution 1814–2014

Workshop on 5 December 2011. Photo: Alf Tore Øksdal.

About the project

The specific interdisciplinary and textual focus on the Constitution will allow us to explore new ways of analyzing citizens' participation in the evolution of democracy in Norway. Relying on methodologies that share an understanding of texts as social actions, we focus on investigating the textual processes involved in the creation of the Norwegian Constitution and its various transformations and interpretations during the last two centuries. A significant part of this investigation is to consider how the Constitution has evolved as a continuous dialogue with texts relating to international events in that period.

The focus on the textual qualities of the Constitution helps us scrutinize both its complex prehistory and its history of changes and interpretations. The textual focus enables us to reveal citizens' actions and decisions on a micro-level, and to follow closely diachronic and transnational transformations.

Our project moves beyond mono-disciplinary approaches to the Norwegian Constitution to fuse knowledge generated in our respective realms of expertise and to expand research of the Constitution into textual research.

Outcomes

We plan to disseminate our research as an academic book published by an international publisher. Chapters in the book will approach several interrelated dimensions of the Norwegian Constitution as a text:

  • textual culture 1814 in Denmark-Norway,
  • the writing down of constitutional texts,
  • Article 100 and the past,
  • temporal inscriptions,
  • the 1814 understanding of 'constitution',
  • textual connectives,
  • constitutional intertextuality,
  • the power of genre,
  • British reflections,
  • a comparison with the US experience,
  • judicial and political codes,
  • facilitation of public discourse,
  • amendments as text changes,
  • parliamentarians on the language of the Constitution,
  • and young students' interpretations.

Financing (2011-2013)

The project is co-financed by

Textualizing Democracy springs out from the Kultrans Research Area Foundational Texts.

Cooperation

University of Oslo:

  • Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History
  • The Centre for Gender Research
  • Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies
  • Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages
  • Department of Political Science
  • Department of Public and International Law
  • The Department of Sociology and Human Geography
  • Department of Teacher Education and School Research

UC Santa Barbara.

University of Bergen. International, Constitutional and Human Rights Law

University of Genoa

University of St Gallen

Project wiki

Published Jan 4, 2012 11:41 AM - Last modified Oct 2, 2014 10:57 AM