Law, economy and legal consciousness at work

Dukes, R. and Kirk, E. (2021) Law, economy and legal consciousness at work. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, 72(4), pp. 741-770.

[img] Text
258671.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 17 March 2023.


Publisher's URL:


Building on earlier work, we state the case for an economic sociology of labour law which recognises and investigates the co-constitutive nature of law and the economy. Reviewing recent literature which shares this ambition, we argue that an important element of a co-constitutive theory of law and the economy is an understanding of the ‘legal consciousness’ of economic actors, meaning, in essence, their participation in the construction of legality or legalities, defined here as social structures which both enable and constrain actors. While a small number of studies have sought to understand the legal consciousness of workers, none that we are aware of has investigated the legal consciousness of human resource managers. This is a significant omission. Drawing on existing research in the field, we demonstrate the importance of human resource management (HRM) as a site where legalities can become bound up with other, especially market-focused and managerial, rationales, with significant consequences for compliance and enforcement. As a first step towards understanding the legal consciousness of human resource managers, we then situate HRM within a context of contradictory professional discourses and ideologies, and of processes of justification and legitimation of contemporary capitalism.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dukes, Professor Ruth and Kirk, Dr Eleanor
Authors: Dukes, R., and Kirk, E.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly
Publisher:School of Law at Queen's University Belfast
Published Online:17 March 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © Queen's University School of Law 2022
First Published:First published in Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 72(4): 741-770
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record