Legal Socialization: Coercion versus Consent in an Era of Mistrust

Rick Trinkner, Tom R. Tyler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Legal socialization is the process whereby people develop their relationship with the law via the acquisition of law-related values, attitudes, and reasoning capacities. Research on legal socialization distinguishes between two different orientations toward the law: coercive and consensual. Coercive orientations are rooted in the use of force and punishment, ultimately leading to an instrumentally focused relationship built on dominance. Consensual orientations are rooted in the acquisition of values encompassing concerns over treatment, decision making, and boundaries. When authorities embody these values, they promote trust and legitimacy and foster a relationship built on shared values and the voluntary acceptance of legal authority. Despite these findings, the appropriateness of a consensual over a coercive approach is heavily contested across legal and nonlegal contexts. However, research consistently demonstrates that socializing supportive values and encouraging favorable attitudes not only motivates compliance with the law but promotes voluntary deference and willing cooperation with legal authorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-439
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual Review of Law and Social Science
Volume12
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 27 2016

Keywords

  • Authority
  • Delinquency
  • Human values
  • Juvenile justice
  • Legal socialization
  • Legitimacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Legal Socialization: Coercion versus Consent in an Era of Mistrust'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this