From Collective Legal Consciousness to Legal Consciousness of Collective Dissent?

Event date
19 April 2017
Event time
13:00 - 12:30
Oxford week
Manor Road Building - Seminar Room G
         Paths, Perspectives and Potential for Legal Consciousness Research

It has been nearly 20 years since the critical turn to empirically locate law and legality in the everyday life was marked by the Commonplace of Law by Patricia Ewick and Susan Silbey (1998).

The aim of this workshop is to take stock of some of the theoretically exciting and intellectually promising developments in the legal consciousness research since then.


The title treads an intellectual path between a recent set of important approaches, from framing legal consciousness in collective terms - understood as the dominant perception of what law is and how people tend to relate to it in a given society (Kurkchiyan 2010, Hertogh and Kurkchiyan 2016), toward a legal consciousness of collective dissent where ‘collective identity is particularly significant, yet state law to varying degrees is rejected’ (Halliday and Morgan 2013, Morgan and Kuch 2015). Both unearth important political relationships, either by showing how popular legal ideas are infused with perceptions of the political system or how fatalism about law’s potential for embodying the principles of justice coexists with a strong sense of agency to achieve change outside the formal state law. They cast new light on the processes of ideology and hegemony thereby reclaiming legal consciousness’s critical edge and theoretical utility thought to be lost in various policy projects that temporarily subjugated the concept (Silbey 2005).

The workshop participants are invited to reflect on these and other perspectives, their implications and analytical potential, or venture different uncharted paths in the cutting-edge legal consciousness research. Particularly welcomed are empirically informed contributions.

For further information, full programme and participation enquiries please contact Agnieszka Kubal, CSLS. Due to popular demand we have booked a room that can accomodate 40 people, but places are going fast - confirm your participation early to avoid dissapointment! 

This event is generously sponsored by the British Academy, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and Law Faculty Research Support Fund at University of Oxford.