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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.

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Annual Review of Law and Social Science

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Posted with permission from the Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Volume 15. ©2019 by Annual Reviews, http://www.annualreviews.org.