ABSTRACT

Legal socialization has been defined as “the development of values, attitudes, and behaviors toward law.” Legal socialization “focuses on the individual’s standards for making sociolegal judgements and for resolving conflicts, pressing claims, and settling disputes” (Tapp and Levine, 1974:4). The theory of legal development is derived primarily from cognitive developmental theory. In particular, it builds upon the work of Piaget (1932) and, most especially, that of Kohlberg (1958, 1963, 1964, 1968a, 1968b, 1969). Consistent with Kohlberg’s moral-development theory, legal socialization is said to progress across three stages: preconventional law obeying, conventional law maintaining, and postconventional law making (Tapp and Kohlberg, 1971; Tapp and Levine, 1974).