عنوان مقاله [English]
In common sense concepts, language is assumed to represent and report something that happened in the past independently of the language. An author uses language to communicate his intentions. Interpretation thus can be understood as an attempt to understand those intentions. According to the lawyers' formal understanding of the "language", the formal theory of law aims to "interpret" and "understand" the text of the laws, to discover the author's intention and will, and to introduce the criteria for the truth of our interpretation of the law according to the author's intention; however, the "reality" of the text is the very intention and meaning that the author intended and buried in the world of the text , and, the reader must "discover" and extract this intention. If the reader's interpretation "corresponds" to the reality of the text (the will of the legislator), this interpretation is "true" and "valid", otherwise it is "false".
In the poststructuralist approach, however, language is not considered merely as a means of naming objects that existed in the past or events that occurred in the past. Rather, language is assumed to precede the existence of objects. That is, the understanding of objects would not be possible without language. The emphasis by post-structuralism on the constructive role of "language" is the basis for considering "discourse" as the source and repository of "meaning." Poststructuralists seek the meaning of words (signs) and texts not in the mind of the author, but in the discourses that revolve around the texts, each of which attempts to "impose" its desired meaning on the text. Poststructuralist discourse theory provides the legal scholar with a vocabulary (such as "central signifier," "articulation," "element," "moment," "objectivity," etc.) that can be used by the researcher provided, of course, that poststructuralist principles are adhered to. Poststructuralist ideas such as the constructive role of language and the uncertainty of meaning can help analyzing discourse conflicts in the geography of law around important legal concepts.
This study uses an analytic-descriptive method to argue that a poststructuralist understanding of language and discourse can bring new insights to legal methodology, in both descriptive and prescriptive senses. Descriptively, in this view, interpretation is not about uncovering an author's intentions, or giving the text a single meaning (e.g., one that has been established and authorized by a religious or political authority). In statutory interpretation, a judge chooses one of the competing interpretations of the text and rejects the alternatives. To ascribe meaning to a text is always to "reject" other meanings that other discourses attempt to ascribe to the text or sign. This "rejection," however, is not permanent. Rejected meanings are still in play and return to the text. Any dominant and "hegemonic" discourse can be toppled from the throne of power: The game of discourses and the attribution of meanings to words is not over. Prescriptively, this view resists textualism and the domination of explicit meaning. Rather, it expands the discursive horizon of the text by critiquing the principles of conventional understanding in the process of reading, thus paving the way for the continuation of the reading process. The Islamic jurisprudence puts the explicit meaning in the foreground, but because it is aware of the shortcomings and inadequacies of language and the scarcity of the clear text, it does not put all its eggs in one basket and also relies on the apparent meaning: The theory of primacy of the apparent meaning is the main principle of interpretation in Islamic jurisprudence, which, as claimed, relies on the the consensus of the wise people. Post-structuralism considers the apparent meaning of the text as a product of the dominant discourse and does not grant it any authority. It considers rejected discourses as important as the dominant and hegemonic discourse. The deconstructive approach of post-structuralism requires us to view with skepticism any claim to dominance and semantic certainty, such as the authority of explicit and apparent meaning. This approach gives discarded and marginalized discourses the opportunity to return to the game of meanings. Using a prescriptive approach, this study proposes to bring all discourses that have been rejected into play in the reading process and to expand the discursive horizon of the text: "Let the others speak."
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