Nobody's Law

Legal Consciousness and Legal Alienation in Everyday Life

  • Marc Hertogh

Part of the Palgrave Socio-Legal Studies book series (PSLS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Marc Hertogh
    Pages 1-23
  3. Different Stories About Law

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 25-25
    2. Marc Hertogh
      Pages 27-48
  4. Legal Alienation in Everyday Life

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 85-85
    2. Marc Hertogh
      Pages 109-129
    3. Marc Hertogh
      Pages 131-146
  5. Conclusions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 147-147
    2. Marc Hertogh
      Pages 149-174
    3. Marc Hertogh
      Pages 175-186
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 187-215

About this book


Nobody’s Law shows how people – who are disappointed, disenchanted, and outraged about the justice system – gradually move away from law. Using detailed case studies and combining different theoretical perspectives, this book explores the legal consciousness of ordinary people, businessmen, and street-level bureaucrats in the Netherlands. The empirical research in this study tells an original and alternative narrative about the role of law in everyday life. While previous studies emphasize the law’s hegemony and argue that it’s ‘all over’, Hertogh shows that legal proliferation makes it harder for people to know, and subsequently identify with, the law. As a result, official law has become increasingly remote and irrelevant to many people. The central finding presented in this highly topical text is that these developments signal a process of ‘legal alienation’— a gradual and mundane process with potentially serious consequences for the legitimacy of law. A timely and original study, this book will be of particular interest to scholars in the fields of law and society, socio-legal studies and legal theory.


crime law Legitimacy Legal Consciousness Legal Alienation Dutch Legal Culture Justice System Public Attitudes Legal Equality Dutch Construction Industry Contractors Front-Line Officials Street-Level Bureaucracy legal explosion Legal regulation

Authors and affiliations

  • Marc Hertogh
    • 1
  1. 1.Socio-Legal Studies, Faculty of LawUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

Bibliographic information