Legal Consciousness

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Legal Consciousness

 

the sum of views and ideas expressing the attitude of people toward law, legality, and justice and their concept of what is lawful and unlawful. Legal consciousness is a form of social consciousness. Legal ideology, the system of legal views based on certain social and scientific viewpoints, is a concentrated expression of legal consciousness. The customs and feelings of people in relation to legal phenomena constitute the psychological aspect of legal consciousness; among these are a sense of justice and a loathing of crimes and illegal actions.

Legal consciousness is closely related to other forms of social consciousness, above all to political consciousness. The legal views of a class express and concretize its political goals and demands, to which it tries to give “universal force in the form of laws” (F. Engels, in K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 21, p. 515). Similarly, the nature of the legal consciousness of individuals is determined above all by social position and political orientation. Although legal consciousness is linked to morality, there are a number of differences between morality and legal consciousness in both the range of relations evaluated and the nature of evaluation categories.

With the victory of the proletarian revolution, socialist legal consciousness acquires an important role in the formation of the socialist state structure. The building of socialism and elimination of the exploiting classes create all necessary conditions for a consolidation of a unified socialist legal consciousness, which expresses the sociopolitical and ideological unity of the working class, kolkhoz peasantry, and intelligentsia. The fundamental ideas of socialist legal consciousness are legality and justice, respect for social property and labor, people’s power and consistent democratism, internationalism, true equality of rights, and development of rights and freedoms in their inseparable bond with duties to society. The CPSU works steadily toward establishing socialist legal consciousness in the consciousness of all Soviet citizens.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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form of legal consciousness. According to the first tradition, which can
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