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Relying on the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT), this chapter explains why international human rights law is relevant to the interpretation of Article 1A(2) of the Refugee Convention. It then describes Articles 31-33 of the VCLT, which will be relied upon to address the two limitations in the dominant human rights-based interpretation of the refugee definition identified in Chapter 3.
Borges’s experience of Argentine democracy corresponds with a period of stability and a mood of optimism and renewal in society. For the first time, he appeared in harmony with the country. His declarations to the press alternated between literary subjects and others including politics, travel, etc. His writings at the time also bear witness to his intention of re-reading his own works. And, his private life became a matter of national interest, with his marriage to María Kodama, and then the announcement that he would live in Geneva, generating controversy.
An introduction to motivate readers regarding the subject of seismic signal processing. It also focuses on general seismic data acquisition, processing workflow, the seismic convolution model and seismic interpretation.
We present OntoScene, a framework aimed at understanding the semantics of visual scenes starting from the semantics of their elements and the spatial relations holding between them. OntoScene exploits ontologies for representing knowledge and Prolog for specifying the interpretation rules that domain experts may adopt, and for implementing the SceneInterpreter engine. Ontologies allow the designer to formalize the domain in a reusable way and make the system modular and interoperable with existing multiagent systems, while Prolog provides a solid basis to define complex rules of interpretation in a way that can be affordable even for people with no background in Computational Logics. The domain selected for experimenting OntoScene is that of prehistoric rock art, which provides us with a fascinating and challenging testbed.
The sixteen words on religion in the First Amendment have generated voluminous and vociferous scholarly interpretations. These controversies strike at the heart of the role of religion in American public life. How are we to decide which interpretation of the First Amendment is correct? Answers to this question have been laden with presuppositions. This chapter is an interdisciplinary analysis of recent historical, political, legal, and philosophical writing on the First Amendment to illustrate how key presuppositions inform the approach to arguments about the meaning, scope, and intent of the First Amendment. The chapter will first outline the contextual and philosophical problems of interpreting the First Amendment. It will then evaluate the providentialist, secular, and pragmatic presuppositions that have guided scholarly interpretations. Ultimately, the chapter will argue that there has not been a single understanding of the relationship between church and state in America, but that investigating these presuppositions can help us better appreciate the dynamic nature of religion, politics, and jurisprudence in America.
Debates over the original meaning of the establishment clause have usually revolved around the question of which broad church-state principle is represented by the clause. Strict separationists advocating a “wall of separation” highlight different historical evidence than do non-preferentialists who argue that the clause allows evenhanded government support for religion. A third group asserts that the clause was instead a federalism provision designed to reserve church-state decisions to the states. This chapter assesses these conflicting interpretations and concludes that the framers and the public understood the clause only as banning the establishment of a national church. That understanding did not necessarily represent an anti-establishment principle, however, and it assumed that church-state issues would continue to be resolved by the states. In light of the Supreme Court’s adoption of the incorporation doctrine, the combination of the federalism interpretation and the no-national-religion prohibition best encompasses the original constitutional decision.
Chapter 3 examines the colonies’ evolving group narratives through three lenses: their interpretations of the Gran Chaco, their actions during the Chaco War (1932–35), and their interactions with indigenous peoples after the war. The Menno colonists arrived in the Chaco with a stable and coherent group narrative. They drew on biblical stories with comic plot progressions to interpret their situation. A comedic plot takes the narrative shape of a U, wherein a period of hardship is followed by a happy resolution. They believed the toils of resettlement were essential tests of their faithfulness to scripture. By contrast, the Fernheim Colony was formed out of a group of disparate refugees and arrived with a tragic understanding of their group narrative. This type of story takes the shape of an inverted U, which rises to a point of crisis before plunging to catastrophe. Fernheim colonists therefore debated how they would give their tragic narrative a happy resolution – whether independently, collectively, or with the aid of outsiders (the Paraguayan government, indigenous people, or Mennonites abroad). This chapter argues that each colony’s collective narrative – as faithful nomads and as displaced victims – led them to make profoundly different choices and kept them separated throughout the 1930s.
The role of international organisations in international law-making tends to be downplayed in this largely State-centric world. The practice of UNHCR, however, is reason enough for a more sophisticated appreciation of the role that operational entities can play in stimulating State practice, and of how they may interact with and guide domestic courts in treaty interpretation and application. The ILC's recently completed projects on customary international law and subsequent agreements and practice encourage a cautious approach, but the high degree of judicialisation in refugee decision-making, the strong legal content in the international protection regime and the impact of UNHCR's operational activities open the way for institutional and grass-roots developments, keeping the law in closer touch with social and political realities and with the needs of those displaced.
Jonathan Z. Smith's essay “Religion, Religions, Religious” discovers the invention of religion as a generic term in colonial adventure. The move is notable: religion is born in violence, but it can be repurposed as a term without determinate content by which to compare cases. Smith's origin story is to empower scholars to pick up “religion” as they do the terms “language” and “culture.” There are reasons, however, not only to revisit the story but also to ask whether it is not missing a move—whether the reclamation of a violent term requires more from the scholar than Smith's structuralist reversal, his reinvention of colonialist invention. I compare Smith's resourcefulness with the conquistadors to Edward Said's critique of Orientalism. Both thinkers are asking questions of violence, invention, and use. Said more squarely addresses problems of thinking with and beyond guilty concepts. Yet Smith's story is an important counterpoint. Together, these thinkers help the humanities lay ground for a more expansive and self-conscious theoretical future.
While legislation is enacted by the Legislative Council (or under its authority), the courts have a role in the interpretation of legislation. This chapter discusses the various common law approaches to statutory interpretation that are likely to be adopted by Hong Kong courts. Moreover, this chapter goes through the aids to interpretation within an ordinance, external aids to interpretation, presumptions which protect basic values, interpretation of the Basic Law and resolving conflicts found in bilingual legislation. A case study is used to illustrate how the courts balance different interpretive considerations. Recognising how judges interpret laws will help hone the skills of legal reasoning (thinking like a judge).
We examine the interpretation of ambiguous pronouns in Spanish–English bilingual adults, in contexts in which social–communicative cues (looking-only or looking-and-pointing) are used. In Experiment 1, we demonstrate that pronoun interpretation is guided by the first-mention bias, which is modulated by the presence of the social–communicative cues both in monolinguals and in bilinguals. In Experiment 2, we show that if the speaker using the social–communicative cues is a non-native speaker of English, bilinguals rely more strongly on the social–communicative cues than monolinguals. Experiment 3 shows that stronger reliance on social–communicative cues in bilinguals’ interpretations is not the result of more accurate speech comprehension. Our results demonstrate that the ability to utilize the looking-only and looking-and-pointing cues is not driven by a superior ability to accurately read social cues in bilingual adults. In addition, monolinguals show lower sensitivity to the speaker’s intent when the speaker is a non-native speaker of English.
This chapter focuses on the period 1680–1720, noting how religious confrontations exacerbated tensions between different visions of legitimate power and civic society across many parts of Europe. This instability is reflected both in the experimental work produced by some writers and in the need for subversive texts to be disseminated illegally to evade censors. Textual analysis of the Bible itself led to profound controversies to which the only rational response seemed to be the implementation of some form of religious toleration, but no government could do so effectively. This chapter looks at the very different arguments and styles deployed by a range of writers from Hobbes and Spinoza to less well–known underground polemicists in the early years of the eighteenth century. A rich vein of fictional writing, too, confirms that this was a period of huge significance in terms of questioning established authority in all fields of knowledge, creating new networks of writers with ideas that might be considered ‘dangerous’, and laying solid foundations for a recognisable public opinion. Print was creating an effective ‘republic of readers’.
Chapter 6 explores the approach of international actors to child génocidaires and to the Rwandan government’s legal and policy responses to such children. It describes briefly the approach of UN bodies (both non-operational and those with a field presence in Rwanda) and international NGOs. It then details UNICEF Rwanda’s involvement with child génocidaires, examining how it became involved with the issue and providing an overview of its activities. It draws upon specific issues to exemplify how UNICEF Rwanda interpreted and applied international standards in the Rwandan context and illustrates the contention within UNICEF, and the friction between UNICEF Rwanda and other actors over how best to implement the CRC, particularly as regards institutionalisation. It finds that UNICEF Rwanda interpreted the provisions of the CRC (and related instruments) in a non-restrictive way to fit the Rwandan context, relying in particular on the best interests of the child principle, and that this included working progressively towards implementation and compliance and prioritising some rights over others.
Against the backdrop of the debate about theological reading of scripture, this essay asks whether there ought to be theological interpretation of non-biblical texts. The claim is that there should be, since theology can serve as an encompassing framework that structures all of one's beliefs. On this view, non-biblical literary texts function as a set of non-privileged signs pointing toward the Christian God. These texts should therefore be read using a reading strategy that relates them to God. This raises some complexities in the argument, however, because if these texts not only do not form part of the biblical canon, but also are different in content from those that do, then it is not straightforward how they can be read with reference to the Christian God. The essay wrestles with this issue as well as the objection that the proposal advocates a version of natural theology.
The question of change has emerged as one of the main conceptual and empirical challenges for International Relations' practice turn. In the context of international law, such a challenge is brought into particularly stark relief due to the significant development of legal meaning through more informal, interpretive avenues, including through the judgments of international courts. This paper develops a framework for theorizing how interpretive legal practices generate normative content change in international law. Specifically, it uses the example of the development of international criminal law through the decisions of international criminal courts to analyze how legal interpretation can lead to normative change in practice. Drawing on interviews conducted with judges and legal officers at the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), I analyze how a community of legal practice centered around these courts was able to construct and alter legal meaning in international criminal law, and how such a potential for change was curbed by understandings of the interpretive process and the role of international courts dominant among international lawyers.
We outline briefly the difference between naturalism and humanism before providing a summary of our key concepts of decentring, situated agency and plausible conjectures. In effect, we set the theoretical scene for the rest of the book and the underpinnings for comparative analysis based on dilemmas. We challenge the naturalist mantra of ‘different tools, shared standards’ and provide an alternative account of what constitutes valuable and rigorous interpretive research. We set out a new set of criteria by which interpretive comparative work should be assessed and towards which interpretive comparative researchers ought to strive. We focus on accuracy, openness and aesthetics. We show that not anything goes in comparative interpretive research.
The chapter introduces the idea of creative intuition and interpretation before summarising the book's contents. At the heart of this book is the idea of comparative intuition. People in general, and social scientists in particular, are engaged in ‘constant comparison’. Comparison is what enables us to make sense of events as they unfold across time and space. Interpretive research offers a distinctive approach to the comparative intuition because it consciously offers interpretations of interpretations. This chapter has five substantive sections. First, we outline our basic argument for a consciously and explicitly comparative interpretive approach. Second, we provide a brief summary of the interpretive approach. Third, we seek to justify the rigour and sensitivity of a comparative interpretive orientation. Fourth, we foreshadow in greater depth the structure of the book and detail of its component chapters. Finally, we provide guidance for readers on how to use the book, and in particular on how to combine its insights with those stemming from canonical texts in the field.
The last chapter lays out Arendt’s interpretation of the American Revolution and her reading of the Declaration of Independence. She argued that--in the absence of established governments--the American colonists had to govern themselves, and the practical experience of self-government led them to non-theoretical but authentic insights into the nature of power and authority. But instead of rethinking traditional theoretical concepts in light of their experiences, they misconceived their experiences by forcing them into the framework of traditional theoretical concepts. So there was a tension between the implicit insights and the explicit theories of the colonists, Arendt argued: “the old understanding of power and authority...led the new experience of power to be channeled into concepts which had just been vacated.” This tension between implicit insight and explicit theory runs through the Declaration of Independence. Arendt’s reading goes beyond Jefferson’s explicit claims in order to bring to light a non-theoretical but authentic understanding of political power and authority implicit in the text of the Declaration.
In the Retrospective, we turn our methods back on our own book and ask, ‘what are the dilemmas of using the approach we advocate?’ It is an exercise in professional reflexivity as we reflect on the personal dilemmas that we navigated in writing this book. We ask, ‘what are the dilemmas of using our comparative approach?' Also, we impress upon the reader the merits of our approach by summarising the key terms of both the interpretive approach and our comparative interpretive approach. It is a short cut for those who like to skim books before reading them.