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On Interpretive Conflict$
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John Frow

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226613956

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226614144.001.0001

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Introduction: Institutions of Interpretation

Introduction: Institutions of Interpretation

(p.1) Introduction: Institutions of Interpretation
On Interpretive Conflict

John Frow

University of Chicago Press

The Introduction sets out the parameters of a broad definition of interpretation, extending it beyond exegesis to the complex of knowing, interpreting, judging, valuing, feeling, and consequentially acting that works as an inseparable whole in any and every act of making sense of things. Interpretation as exegesis or as the critique of illusory knowledge is under suspicion these days, but the Introduction argues that there is no escaping the drive to interpret. Through readings of texts by Quentin Skinner and Michael Baxandall, it seeks to clarify the concept of intention that underpins any account of interpretation; then develops the concepts of the interpretive regime and the interpretive institution in order to understand the differentiation of interpretive cultures and the ways in which they organize practices. What these concepts make possible is a way of understanding how interpretations and valuations are arrived at, the transactional and institutional dimensions of our dealings with texts, and the excess of our textual transactions over the frames that constrain and organize them.

Keywords:   interpretation, exegesis, intention, interpretive institution, regime of interpretation, Quentin Skinner, Michael Baxandall, Jacques Rancière

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