Legal Consciousness: Some Observations

This study explores the circumstances under which welfare recipients choose to challenge decisions denying them public housing. The data was interpreted based on three themes: dignity, the ability to make sense of decisions, and the 'spaces of production' of legal consciousness. Interviewees felt that their dignity was undermined by the failure of the bureaucracy to involve them in the decision-making process as well as the time it took to handle the application. Respondents reported that bureaucrats seem to assume that they do not have the capacity to meaningfully participate in the legal system and are therefore unlikely to so. Decision letters written in legalese also contribute to a sense of powerlessness.