Legal Consciousness in Marginalized Groups: The Case of LGBT People

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Studies of legal consciousness have flourished over the last few decades, but these studies and the very concept of legal consciousness have recently come under critique. This article uses the case of studies of the legal consciousness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to demonstrate that legal consciousness has been a valuable conceptual tool for exploring experiences of sociolegal marginalization. Research on LGBT people advances the study of legal consciousness without sacrificing a critical stance or reading lack of overt resistance as evidence of law's hegemonic power. Consideration of this research highlights that focusing on marginalized populations is a way to retain a critical edge in legal consciousness research. Future research should include more exploration of the relationship between marginalization and legal consciousness, further theoretical elaboration of the forms and conditions of resistance to law, and greater attention to how social interactions and institutions produce legal consciousness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-572
Number of pages22
JournalLaw and Social Inquiry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


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