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As institutions of law, parliaments are usually understood with reference to constitutional texts, and analysed as sites of speech and rhetoric, the material aspects of parliamentary politics are routinely overlooked. In response, this book considers how, in order to assemble and to enact its constitutional power, parliament needs to be established as a particular setting with defined procedures, material arrangements and modes of organizing its work.
Through the lens of the long and heated controversy over whaling – the so-called whaling war – in Norway, in the late 19th and early 20th century, this book provides a detailed analysis of how the material, the procedural the discursive are co-constituted in parliamentary practice. The book, then, considers not simply the rules about how an issue may lawfully become and be dealt with as a parliamentary matter, it takes up the materiality of these procedural arrangements in detail, in order to document their actual operation. At the intersection of science and technology studies, environmental history and legal and political anthropology, this book further demonstrates how in the interaction of nature and politics, ‘the environment’ itself may be understood as constituted through the concrete practices of law and politics.