System justification


System justification

System justification theory refers to a social psychological tendency to defend and bolster the status quo, that is, to see it as good, fair, legitimate, and desirable. A consequence of this tendency is that existing social, economic, and political arrangements tend to be preferred, and alternatives to the status quo are disparaged. System justification theory refers, therefore, to an inherently conservative tendency to defend and justify the status quo simply because it exists, and sometimes even at the expense of individual and collective self-interest.

To understand how and why people accept and maintain the social systems that affect them, social psychologists have developed system justification theory. According to system justification theory, people not only want to hold favorable attitudes about themselves (ego-justification) and their own groups (group-justification), but they also want to hold favorable attitudes about the overarching social order (system-justification).

According to system justification theory, this motive is not unique to members of dominant groups, who benefit the most from the current regime; it also affects the thoughts and behaviors of members of groups who are seemingly incurring disadvantages by it (e.g., poor people, racial/ethnic minorities, homosexuals). System justification theory therefore accounts for counter-intuitive evidence that members of disadvantaged groups often support the societal status quo (at least to some degree), often at considerable cost to themselves and to fellow group members.

ee also

* False consciousness
* Groupthink
* Ideology
* Just-world phenomenon
* List of cognitive biases
* Progress trap
* Status quo bias

References

*Hanson, Jon. (2007). Thanksgiving as “System Justification”?. Retrieved December 1, 2007 from "The Situationist". Website: http://thesituationist.wordpress.com/2007/11/21/thanksgiving-as-system-justification/
*Jost, J.T. & Banaji, M.R. (1994). The role of stereotyping in system-justification and the production of false consciousness. British Journal of Social Psychology, 33, 1-27.
*Jost, J.T., Banaji, M.R., & Nosek, B.A. (2004). A decade of system justification theory: Accumulated evidence of conscious and unconscious bolstering of the status quo. Political Psychology, 25, 881-919.
*Jost, J.T., & Hunyady, O. (2005). Antecedents and consequences of system-justifying ideologies. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14, 260-265.


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