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System justification theory at 25: Evaluating a paradigm shift in psychology and looking towards the future

Osborne, Danny, Sengupta, Nikhil Kumar, Sibley, Chris G. (2018) System justification theory at 25: Evaluating a paradigm shift in psychology and looking towards the future. British Journal of Social Psychology, 58 (2). pp. 340-361. ISSN 0144-6665. (doi:10.1111/bjso.12302) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:79058)

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Since first being proposed 25 years ago, system justification theory has become a paradigm-shifting framework for understanding intergroup relations and political psychology. Based on the thesis that people are motivated to defend and bolster the societal status quo, system justification theory helps to explain varied phenomena, including resistance to change, outgroup favouritism, and other instances of false consciousness. This paper summarizes four tenets of the theory including the following: (1) antecedents to system justification, (2) palliative effects of system justification, (3) status-based asymmetries in conflict between justification motives, and (4) societal consequences of system justification. Throughout our review, we highlight how system justification theory helps to explain why disadvantaged groups might sometimes support the status quo, emphasizing research conducted outside the United States when possible. We conclude by calling on future research to (1) further utilize nationally representative and multi-level data, (2) investigate the relational motives behind system justification, (3) address social change from a system justification perspective, and (4) extend system justification theory’s focus beyond WEIRD societies.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/bjso.12302
Uncontrolled keywords: system justification; review; international; survey data
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Social Psychology
Depositing User: Nikhil Sengupta
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2019 12:52 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2019 09:14 UTC
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Sengupta, Nikhil Kumar:
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