ABOUT THIS BOOK
“Interpretation” is a term that encompasses both the most esoteric and the most fundamental activities of our lives, from analyzing medical images to the million ways we perceive other people’s actions. Today, we also leave interpretation to the likes of web cookies, social media algorithms, and automated markets. But as John Frow shows in this thoughtfully argued book, there is much yet to do in clarifying how we understand the social organization of interpretation.
On Interpretive Conflict delves into four case studies where sharply different sets of values come into play—gun control, anti-Semitism, the religious force of images, and climate change. In each case, Frow lays out the way these controversies unfold within interpretive regimes that establish what counts as an interpretable object and the protocols of evidence and proof that should govern it. Whether applied to a Shakespeare play or a Supreme Court case, interpretation, he argues, is at once rule-governed and inherently conflictual. Ambitious and provocative, On Interpretive Conflict will attract readers from across the humanities and beyond.