- The Art, Craft, and Science of Policing
- Crime and Criminals
- Criminal Process and Prosecution
- The Crime-preventive Impact of Penal Sanctions
- Contracts and Corporations
- Financial Markets
- Consumer Protection
- Bankruptcy and Insolvency
- Regulating the Professions
- Personal Injury Litigation
- Claiming Behavior as Legal Mobilization
- Labor and Employment Laws
- Housing and Property
- Human Rights Instruments
- Social Security and Social Welfare
- Occupational Safety and Health
- Environmental Regulation
- Administrative Justice
- Access to Civil Justice
- Judicial Recruitment, Training and Careers
- Trial Courts and Adjudication
- Appellate Courts
- Dispute Resolution
- Lay Decision-Makers in the Legal Process
- Evidence Law
- Civil Procedure and Courts
- Collective Actions
- Law and Courts'Impact on Development and Democratization
- How Does Inter National Law Work?
- <b>Lawyers and Other Legal Service Providers</b>
- Legal Pluralism
- Public Images and Understandings of Courts
- Legal Education and the Legal Academy
Abstract and Keywords
This article focuses on contemporary work on public knowledge of, information about, and public images and judgments of law and courts. It begins with a brief digression on the nature of the scholarship on public opinion and the operation of courts and postulates that courts are political institutions. In order to highlight the importance of judicial knowledge, democratic theory is explained in the article. The theory of judicial influence is a theory of individual-level attitude change. A great deal more research, however, must be conducted before the hypothesis of attitude change can be accepted. Legitimacy is one of the most highly valued forms of political capital. Available evidence indicates that national high courts differ greatly in the legitimacy they have acquired. Future research should focus on the processes through which courts become salient to ordinary people and how interactions with courts, especially judicial symbols, contribute to institutional legitimacy.
James L. Gibson is the Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government in the Department of Political Science and Professor of African and African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He is also the Director of the Program on Citizenship and Democratic Values and Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy, and Professor Extraordinary in Political Science, and Fellow, Centre for Comparative and International Politics, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
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