Legal Consciousness Reconsidered

Posted: 23 Oct 2019

See all articles by Lynette Chua

Lynette Chua

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law

David M. Engel

SUNY Buffalo Law School

Date Written: October 2019


Legal consciousness is a vibrant research field attracting growing numbers of scholars worldwide. Yet differing assumptions about aims and methods have generated vigorous debate, typically resulting from a failure to recognize that three different clusters of scholars—identified here as the Identity, Hegemony, and Mobilization schools—are pursuing different goals and deploying the concept of legal consciousness in different ways. Scholarship associated with these three schools demonstrates that legal consciousness is actually a flexible paradigm with multiple applications rather than a monolithic approach. Furthermore, a new generation of scholars has energized the field in recent years, focusing on marginalized peoples and non-Western settings. Through their findings, and as a result of broader trends across the social sciences, relational legal consciousness has taken on greater importance. Legal consciousness research should be imagined on a continuum ranging from individualistic conceptualizations of thought and action to interactive, co-constitutive approaches.

Suggested Citation

Chua, Lynette and Engel, David M., Legal Consciousness Reconsidered (October 2019). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 15, pp. 335-353, 2019, Available at SSRN: or

Lynette Chua

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law ( email )

469G Bukit Timah Road
Eu Tong Sen Building
Singapore, 259776

David M. Engel (Contact Author)

SUNY Buffalo Law School ( email )

415 O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics