Constitutional Game - An Analytical Framework of Constitutional Law and Constitutional Politics

Benny Y. T. Tai


Most lawyers have a doctrinal understanding of constitution. They are skeptical of any political understanding of a constitution, feeling that this may taint the sacredness of the legal paradigm. Political scientists view things differently. They offer three approaches to understanding a constitution from the political paradigm perspective: the attitudinal approach, the institutional approach and the strategic approach. The author argues that the incorporation of the political paradigm into one’s analytical framework is unavoidable if one wants to have a comprehensive understanding of the constitution.

After arguing that different paradigms can be integrated if alternative epistemological presuppositions are being adopted, the legal and political paradigms and approaches are integrated into an analytical framework of constitutional game illustrating how law and politics may interact in the constitutional development of a country-state.

Under this analytical framework of constitutional game, the constitutional processes in which decisions on the making, interpretation, implementation, adjudication and amendment or change of the constitution are made can be understood from features borrowed from the concept of game including players, rules of the game, winning goals, game resources, game actions, game field, interaction, strategy, and the end of the game.

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Journal of Politics and Law ISSN 1913-9047 (Print) ISSN 1913-9055 (Online)  Email:

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