▪ Abstract 

Legal consciousness as a theoretical concept and topic of empirical research developed to address issues of legal hegemony, particularly how the law sustains its institutional power despite a persistent gap between the law on the books and the law in action. Why do people acquiesce to a legal system that, despite its promises of equal treatment, systematically reproduces inequality? Recent studies have both broadened and narrowed the concept's reach, while sacrificing much of the concept's critical edge and theoretical utility. Rather than explaining how the different experiences of law become synthesized into a set of circulating schemas and habits, the literature tracks what particular individuals think and do. Because the relationships among consciousness and processes of ideology and hegemony often go unexplained, legal consciousness as an analytic concept is domesticated within what appear to be policy projects: making specific laws work better for particular groups or interests.

Keyword(s): everyday lifehegemonyideology

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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