Legal consciousness and the sociology of labour law

Kirk, E. (2021) Legal consciousness and the sociology of labour law. Industrial Law Journal, 50(3), pp. 405-433. (doi: 10.1093/indlaw/dwaa020)

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Building on recent calls to expand the field of empirical labour law research, this article seeks to delineate a special place for legal consciousness research within a new sociology of labour law. The idea that employment relations have become increasingly juridified has been used to justify important policy interventions such as reforms to the employment tribunal system, restricting the ability of workers to bring claims. Yet, we know remarkably little about work-related legal consciousness in order to assess the purported growth of ‘litigiousness’ in society and its implications for policy. This article provides an extended critique of a recent text in the field of legal consciousness studies, Nobody’s Law by Marc Hertogh.1 What began as a straightforward review of Hertogh’s book became a defence of an earlier, seminal work by Ewick and Silbey,2 which Hertogh seeks but ultimately fails to discredit. Ewick and Silbey’s critical approach stands up well against close scrutiny. The debate centres upon issues of legal hegemony, and on epistemology and ontology in the sociological study of labour law.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This paper arises from a project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no 757395)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kirk, Dr Eleanor
Authors: Kirk, E.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:Industrial Law Journal
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1464-3669
Published Online:10 October 2020

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