This article was written with the invaluable assistance of Felice J. Levine to whom the authors express gratitude. We also wish to thank Brenda Smith and Roberta Tabor for their services in the preparation of this manuscript.
Developing Senses of Law and Legal Justice
Article first published online: 14 APR 2010
1971 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
Journal of Social Issues
Volume 27, Issue 2, pages 65–91, Spring 1971
How to Cite
Tapp, J. L. and Kohlberg, L. (1971), Developing Senses of Law and Legal Justice. Journal of Social Issues, 27: 65–91. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1971.tb00654.x
- Issue published online: 14 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 14 APR 2010
A theory of legal development, derived from cognitive developmental theory, is explicated using U.S. kindergarten to college and cross-national preadolescent data. Paralleling evidence on universal moral levels, the development of individual orientations vis-à-vis legal or rule systems reveals consistent movement from a preconventional law-obeying, to a conventional law-maintaining, to a postconventional lawmaking perspective. In both the U.S. and cross-national samples, “law and order” conventional reasoning is modal reflecting that socialization experiences can accelerate, retard, or crystallize the growth of legal values and roles. Implications of the theory and findings are discussed for legal socialization.