Justice: Volume 25


Table of contents

(18 chapters)
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List of contributors

Pages vii-viii
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Pages ix-xv
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To do “justice” to the theorizing and empirical work on the topic of justice would be a formidable, if not impossible, task. The study of justice spans centuries (see, for example, Solomon & Murphy, 1990) and disciplines – psychology, sociology, political science, philosophy (Cohen, 1986; Scherer, 1992). Some previously published edited volumes on justice circumscribe the content as applicable, for example, to organizations (Greenberg & Colquitt, 2005), to the affectional bond (Lerner & Mikula, 1994), or with regard to the role of emotions (De Cremer, 2007). Other volumes fall loosely under titles to the effect of “justice in social behavior” (e.g., Bierhoff, Cohen, & Greenberg, 1986; Montada & Lerner, 1996) or “research and applications” (e.g., Törnblom & Vermunt, 2007). These volumes offer a variety of theoretical and empirical analyses of justice issues, largely from the point of view of scholars trained in psychology. Indeed, in the social psychological realm, focus is often on individual perceptions of and reactions to various forms of injustice.

Two metaphors of human motivation have dominated justice theory and research: homo economicus (people as rational utility maximizers) and homo socialis (people as status and social value maximizers). This chapter reviews theory and research inspired by a recent third perspective: homo moralis, that is, people as innately concerned about morality. When people have strong moral convictions at stake, their perceptions of outcome fairness and decision acceptance are shaped more by whether outcomes are consistent with perceivers’ moral priorities than by whether authorities act in procedurally fair ways; moreover, whether authorities yield morally correct outcomes shapes subsequent perceptions of the legitimacy of these authorities or authority systems. Emotion plays an important role in both of these effects.

In the current contribution I suggest that reactions to decision-making procedures often are influenced by egocentric concerns. Such egocentrism can be inferred from various theories that assume people's procedural justice judgments to be based on the implications of decision-making procedures for themselves instead of for others. The present review considers evidence for two propositions: (1) People respond more negatively to procedural injustice when it happens to themselves than when it happens to others, and (2) an egocentric self-focus amplifies people's fairness-based responses to decision-making procedures. It is concluded that egocentric motives play a central role in procedural justice effects.

After war, societies can undergo change that extends justice to formerly excluded groups. Using theories of moral exclusion and moral inclusion as a lens, this chapter examines societal change in two consecutive periods after the American Civil War (1861–1865): Reconstruction and Jim Crow. Focusing on the well being of black Americans in the American South, this chapter examines Reconstruction's inclusionary gains and setbacks. It then describes challenges faced by black Americans during Jim Crow, a period of white supremacy and violence, and factors associated with Jim Crow's decline. Applying social psychological theory to these historical periods offers insight into the dynamics of inclusionary and exclusionary change.

Despite advocacy for greater dialogue between social psychologists and family scholars, there has been little cross-fertilization between the two. One exception is in the area of equity theory. We address how advances in equity theory and in family research each have even greater capacity to enrich the other. We do so by using the 1996 General Social Survey, 1992–1994 National Survey of Family and Households, and 2002 International Social Survey Programme to explore the relationship between emotion and perceived inequity in the family. We summarize key findings as a prelude to future scholarship in the United States and globally.

The paradox of the contented female worker refers to the fact that women are generally disadvantaged (fewer material rewards) in the workplace relative to men, but are just as satisfied with their jobs as men. We review various arguments offered to explain the paradox with special attention given to justice-based explanations. Data collected from 30 countries as part of the 2005 ISSP are examined and show that the paradox is essentially a universal, worldwide phenomenon.

Recent developments in identity theory are used to understand emotions in distributive justice theory. Three issues are examined: the consistency vs. enhancement dynamic, the status dynamic, and the resource dynamic. Results reveal individuals initially react positively to over-rewards; later they react more negatively. We suggest that the enhancement process occurs initially; the consistency process occurs later. Regarding status, persons respond negatively to unjust outcomes when they come from higher status persons. Finally, positive emotions are a resource for individuals initially and across encounters, buffering the effect of repeated unjust outcomes. Overall, this study helps develop emotions in distributive justice theory.

In addition to serving a hegemonic function, system-justifying ideologies serve the palliative function of enabling people to feel better about inequality. We summarize three studies supporting this proposition. In the first study, an arbitrary hierarchy was created using the “Star Power” simulation. Results reveal that system justification is associated with increased positive affect, satisfaction, and decreased negative affect, guilt, and frustration. Two additional studies demonstrate that the dampening effect of system justification on support for the redistribution of resources is mediated by reduced moral outrage but not guilt or negative affect. Implications for social change and social justice are discussed.

Citizen willingness to participate in social action depends, in part, on certain beliefs about the world and one's power to initiate change. This study examines how belief in a just world (BJW) affects willingness to participate in social action. The model also incorporates antecedents to BJW, including personality factors (authoritarianism, self-esteem, powerlessness); political orientation (national identity, patriotism); social characteristics (religiosity, ethnicity, education, income); and the relationships among these factors. Data are from a representative sample of the Jewish Israeli population. Findings indicate that as BJW decreases, so to does the willingness to act, and that personality, political, and social characteristics influence both BJW and willingness to participate in social action.

Identities reside not just in objective realities but also in the perceptions of actors and observers, reflecting actual group memberships as well as ideologies about their relevance and significance. Salient group identities can influence perceptions of the justice of social events and policies as well as perpetuating intergroup conflicts. This chapter reviews the relationship between psychological perspectives on identity and beliefs about justice, including new data illustrating the relevance of identity to support for animal rights. Experiences that emphasize shared identities between groups may reduce the deindividuation of outgroup members and promote the resolution of intergroup conflicts.

Since its inception in the 1970s, procedural justice has taken center stage in research on the outcomes of alternative dispute resolution. Such perceptions of procedural fairness, while important, are fairly transient whereas relationships between disputants endure. In the following chapter I argue that more research should explore the relational outcomes of dispute resolution, highlighting relevant insight from social exchange and organizational behavior on affect, attribution, and conflict. In discussing how each can add to the study of alternative dispute resolution, a paradox emerges – arbitration may be better for ongoing relationships than mediation, although the latter is considered more procedurally just.

This chapter proposes and provides evidence for a conceptual framework for understanding the restoration of justice. Specifically, there is a fundamental distinction between two primary symbolic concerns that follow from transgressions: concern over the status/power relations between the involved parties, and over the violation of the values those parties expect to share. Recognizing these concerns is paramount to understanding the psychological needs of injustice victims, how they conceptualize the restoration of justice, and the processes by which various interventions instill feelings of justice. This framework also elucidates when alternative avenues towards justice might be more effective than traditional retributive responses.

When a society overthrows a ruler – call the ruler Caesar – what determines whether Caesar is killed or enslaved? This chapter presents a model of killing versus enslaving Caesar, based on a new theory which unifies justice, status, and power. The model pertains to societies which value ordinal goods like bravery, yielding predictions for three of the five types of societies – justice-nonmaterialistic, status, and power-nonmaterialistic. Results cover members’ gains, effects of own rank and group size, and relative gains from killing or enslaving Caesar. Further results suggest that Caesar will be killed only in a justice-nonmaterialistic society, and from the noblest of motives – to achieve equal gains for members.

Theories in the justice area have proliferated with little regard either to their interconnections or to the general scientific criterion of parsimony. Recently, there have been several attempts to integrate justice theories. However, there has been practically no discussion of theoretical method, that is, precisely what it means to integrate two or more theories and what must be done to accomplish it. This chapter advocates building integrated theories by developing smaller modularized theories that can be formulated and assembled for multiple purposes. To illustrate the process, we construct five modules addressing different areas connected to justice issues and show how they may be combined into a single integrated structure.

Publication date
Book series
Advances in Group Processes
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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