Comparing Theories of Legal Socialization



Chapter 2 compares the two leading theories of legal socialization: legal development theory (Levine & Tapp, 1977; Tapp & Kohlberg, 1977), which is a form of cognitive developmental theory (Kohlberg, 1969, 1984, 1986; Piaget, 1932), and social learning theory, a broad theoretical perspective of which several versions are particularly relevant to legal socialization (Akers, 1985; Akers et al., 1979; Bandura, 1969a, 1969b, 1973, 1977; Mischel & Mischel, 1976). The two theories represent two major paradigms in the psychology of learning and entirely different ways of conceptualizing the relationship between person and environment. Although not themselves competing theories, because neither takes the other as its opposite, the two approaches can be understood to generate competing hypotheses about the process of legal socialization (Cohn & White, 1986). The two theories are compared in these terms.


Social Learning Moral Development Cognitive Structure Liberal Democracy Social Learning Theory 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Velag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA

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