Throughout this book I will be interested especially in situations that are overloaded with a glut of possible meanings, but where no single line of interpretation has yet come to dominate. This view has precursors in various critiques of the decodable meanings of structuralism, from Victor Turner’s discussions of multivocal symbols (1967), to the sociolinguistic turn away from structures of langue to the contextual meanings of parole, to post-structuralism in literary criticism. Each of these approaches pushes us away from structure alone, and toward a more complex view of indeterminate and ambiguous interpretation. While I will go on to argue that the ambiguities are resolved in certain social circumstances, comparable to the kinds of institutionalized rationalization that Max Weber saw in the Protestant sects (Weber, 1946), let me begin here with the argument for inherently indeterminate interpretation.
KeywordsOfficial Discourse Tonal Music Political Resistance Interpretive Community Single Interpretation
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