The Strange Case of a Written Constitution: Symbolism in Constitution

38 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2020

See all articles by Pranoto Iskandar

Pranoto Iskandar

The Institute for Migrant Rights; McGill University - Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism

Date Written: May 15, 2020

Abstract

This proposed study is aimed to explicate the practice of symbolism in a constitution. As a conceptual model, the notion of symbolic constitutionalism is a constitutional system that sees constitutions as no different from a symbol that represents something, other than itself. And more often than not, the connection between the symbol and what it represents is not so obvious, if nonexistent. As the Indonesian case shows, this model of a constitutional system is prominently based on a set of legal assumptions that are implicit and, thus, subjective, in nature. That said, the expressive nature of such a constitution is mostly related with the invocation of the sentimental aspect of the document that exists in the realm of the nation’s cultural details and superstitious past. In this regard, this symbolic role is supposedly emitting its constitutional meaning from the outside or beyond of, and certainly, not within, the four corners. Differently put, any attempts to expound constitutional intentions from such a constitution should take into context writ large. As a consequence, in its effort, this study proposes that the implicit meaning can only be elucidated with significant help of non-textual sources.

Keywords: Constitutional Design, Constitution Making, Law and Emotion, Nation-Building, Law and Culture, Legal Interpretation

Suggested Citation

Iskandar, Pranoto, The Strange Case of a Written Constitution: Symbolism in Constitution (May 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3602247 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3602247

Pranoto Iskandar (Contact Author)

The Institute for Migrant Rights ( email )

Jalan Amalia Rubini 35
Cianjur, West Java 43213
Indonesia
+62263271769 (Phone)
+62263271284 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://imr.or.id

McGill University - Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism ( email )

Chancellor Day Hall
3644 Peel Street
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1W9
Canada

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