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4 - Textualism

Its Unfulfilled Promises and Unintended Consequences

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 March 2024

Andrea Bianchi
Affiliation:
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
Fuad Zarbiyev
Affiliation:
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
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Summary

Despite the fact that the Vienna Convention prescribes a holistic approach to treaty interpretation, it is widely believed that the dominant interpretive approach in international law is textualism. Textualism is premised on the distinction between what is inside and what is outside the text of a treaty and assumes that it is possible to interpret a text without reference to factors that are extraneous to it. This chapter situates the preference for textualism in the intellectual history of the discipline. Building on philosopher John Searle’s work, it argues, however, that no treaty interpreter is or can be a textualist. It also introduces the concept of intertextuality and discusses the tension between the official functions of textualism and the practice of treaty interpretation.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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  • Textualism
  • Andrea Bianchi, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Fuad Zarbiyev, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
  • Book: Demystifying Treaty Interpretation
  • Online publication: 07 March 2024
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108769730.005
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  • Textualism
  • Andrea Bianchi, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Fuad Zarbiyev, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
  • Book: Demystifying Treaty Interpretation
  • Online publication: 07 March 2024
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108769730.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Textualism
  • Andrea Bianchi, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Fuad Zarbiyev, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
  • Book: Demystifying Treaty Interpretation
  • Online publication: 07 March 2024
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108769730.005
Available formats
×