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Interpretation in International Law$
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Andrea Bianchi, Daniel Peat, and Matthew Windsor

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198725749

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198725749.001.0001

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The Game of Interpretation in International Law

The Game of Interpretation in International Law

The Players, the Cards, and Why the Game is Worth the Candle

Chapter:
(p.34) 2 The Game of Interpretation in International Law
Source:
Interpretation in International Law
Author(s):

Andrea Bianchi

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198725749.003.0002

This chapter uses the metaphor of the game to explain how interpretation works in international law. The rules of play are known and complied with, even though which cards to play is left to the skills and strategies of the individual players. In order to win the game, one must secure adherence to his or her own interpretation of the law and players can resort to a wide array of strategies to enhance the effectiveness of their game. After examining the practice of ‘how to do interpretation’, the focus of analysis is shifted to the meta-discourse of ‘playing the game of game playing’, where such fundamental questions as what is the nature of the game and who gets to decide the rules are addressed. Finally, the issues of why the players think that the game is worth the candle and why this question is hardly ever posed are tackled.

Keywords:   interpretation theory, purposeful interpretation, rhetoric, persuasion, interpretive communities, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties

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