Social Protest and Its Discontents: A System Justification Perspective

  title={Social Protest and Its Discontents: A System Justification Perspective},
  author={Vivienne Badaan and John T. Jost and Danny Osborne and Chris G. Sibley and Joaqu{\'i}n Ungaretti and Edgardo Etchezahar and Erin P. Hennes},
Psychological factors that encourage—as well as discourage—participation in social protest are often overlooked in the social sciences. In this article, we draw together recent contributions to the understanding of the social and psychological bases of political action and inaction from the perspective of system justification theory. This perspective, which builds on theory and research on the “belief in a just world,” contends that—because of underlying epistemic, existential, and relational… Expand

Figures from this paper

A quarter century of system justification theory: Questions, answers, criticisms, and societal applications
A theory of system justification was proposed 25 years ago by Jost and Banaji (1994, Br. J. Soc. Psychol., 33, 1) in the British Journal of Social Psychology to explain ‘the participation byExpand
Ideological justification of the sectarian political system in Lebanon.
It was observed that religiosity and political conservatism were positively associated with general and economic forms of system justification as well as support for the sectarian political system in Lebanon. Expand
System justification theory at 25: Evaluating a paradigm shift in psychology and looking towards the future
Future research is called on to further utilize nationally representative and multi-level data, investigate the relational motives behind system justification, address social change from a system justification perspective, and extend system justification theory's focus beyond WEIRD societies. Expand
Imagining better societies: A social psychological framework for the study of utopian thinking and collective action
We present an integrative theoretical model that specifies social psychological mechanisms by which utopian thinking, which activates the social imagination, may enhance collective action intentionsExpand
Ideology and the promotion of social change
  • J. Becker
  • Sociology
  • Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
  • 2020
Most models predicting collective action for social change have not considered the role of ideology. Recent research suggests, however, that ideology is a key variable in predicting social changeExpand
The palliative function of system-justifying ideologies
Beliefs that justify or rationalizing existing inequalities appear to serve a ‘palliative function’, insofar as they are associated with better subjective well-being and physical health. We reviewExpand


Missing in (Collective) Action
Social-psychological models of collective action emphasize three antecedents of protest: (a) anger at perceived injustice, (b) social identification, and (c) beliefs about group efficacy. TheseExpand
System Justification Theory
System justification is a social psychology term of art that designates any motivational tendency to defend, bolster, or rationalize existing social, economic, and political arrangements. It isExpand
Shared Reality, System Justification, and the Relational Basis of Ideological Beliefs
Although it is tempting to think that one’s political convictions reflect independent and unbiased thinking, research increasingly suggests that ideologies reflect motivational processes. The presentExpand
Belief in a just God (and a just society): A system justification perspective on religious ideology.
Theoretical approaches that treat religiosity as an evolutionary byproduct of cognitive mechanisms to detect agency may help to explain the prevalence of superstitious thinking, but they say littleExpand
Ideology: Its Resurgence in Social, Personality, and Political Psychology
The thesis is that ideological belief systems may be structured according to a left-right dimension for largely psychological reasons linked to variability in the needs to reduce uncertainty and threat. Expand
The psychology of system justification and the palliative function of ideology
In this chapter, we trace the historical and intellectual origins of system justification theory, summarise the basic assumptions of the theory, and derive 18 specific hypotheses from a systemExpand
Not All Ideologies are Created Equal: Epistemic, Existential, and Relational Needs Predict System-Justifying Attitudes
Whereas most social psychological perspectives assume that needs to manage uncertainty, existential anxiety, and social cohesion should motivate any form of ideological zeal, System JustificationExpand
Ideology and the limits of self-interest: System justification motivation and conservative advantages in mass politics.
It is commonly assumed that political attitudes are driven by self-interest and that poor people heavily favor policies aimed at redistributing wealth. This assumption fails to explain the popularityExpand
Anti-feminist backlash: The role of system justification in the rejection of feminism
System justification theory (SJT) posits that people are motivated to believe that the social system they live in is fair, desirable, and how it should be, especially in contexts that heighten theExpand
Ideological Asymmetries and the Essence of Political Psychology
Individuals are not merely passive vessels of whatever beliefs and opinions they have been exposed to; rather, they are attracted to belief systems that resonate with their own psychological needsExpand