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

  title={System justification theory at 25: Evaluating a paradigm shift in psychology and looking towards the future},
  author={D. Osborne and Nikhil K Sengupta and C. Sibley},
  journal={British Journal of Social Psychology},
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… Expand

Figures and Topics 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
Is a system motive really necessary to explain the system justification effect? A response to Jost (2019) and Jost, Badaan, Goudarzi, Hoffarth, and Mogami (2019).
It is concluded that SJT theorists should decide whether system justification is oppositional to, or compatible with social identity motives, and that this dilemma could be resolved by relinquishing the theoretically problematic notion of a system justification motivation. Expand
The future of system justification theory.
This article corrects a number of misconceptions about system justification theory and proposes exciting new areas for future research, such as distinguishing between subjective and objective consequences of system justification in a broader array of social and political contexts and developing practical interventions to reduce system justification motivation and strengthen the motivation to improve upon the status quo. Expand
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
Advancing a Social Identity Model of System Attitudes
Abstract The connection between social identity and attitudes toward the criminal justice system (CJS) is an area of interest among criminologists and legitimacy scholars. Previous work has proposedExpand
The System Works Fine: The Positive Relationship Between Emphasis on Individual Explanations for Inequality and External Political Efficacy
This article addresses the largely overlooked question of whether explanations for inequality are related to appraisals of the political system. It posits a positive relationship between individualExpand
System Justification Enhances Life Satisfaction of High- and Low-Status People in China
Across three studies, we examine whether system justification enhances psychological well-being among members of both advantaged and disadvantaged groups. In addition, we test the novel hypothesisExpand
Testing the Status-Legitimacy Hypothesis in China: Objective and Subjective Socioeconomic Status Divergently Predict System Justification
It is argued that at least part of the confusion stems from the possibility that objective and subjective SES are differently related to system justification, and future research on status-related issues needs to distinguish the potential divergent roles of objective and objective SES. Expand
System justification in communication: a study of imagined dialogue receptivity
ABSTRACT According to system justification theory, system-threatening messages decrease the legitimacy of the status quo. Thus, individuals who endorse system justice beliefs will employ a variety ofExpand
Identifying the Psychological Mechanisms Underlying the Effects of Inequality on Society: The Macro-Micro Model of Inequality and Relative Deprivation (MIRED)
In the last 40 years, inequality has risen to levels unseen since before World War II. Although these increases correlate with numerous harmful outcomes, research has largely overlooked theExpand


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
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
A Decade of System Justification Theory: Accumulated Evidence of Conscious and Unconscious Bolstering of the Status Quo
Most theories in social and political psychology stress self-interest, intergroup conflict, ethnocentrism, homophily, ingroup bias, outgroup antipathy, dominance, and resistance. System justificationExpand
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
Social Protest and Its Discontents: A System Justification Perspective
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 theExpand
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
Why Men (and Women) Do and Don’t Rebel
Across very different contexts, measures, and methods, the results reveal that, even among political activists, system justification plays a significant role in undermining willingness to protest. Expand
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, the Denial of Global Warming, and the Possibility of “System-Sanctioned Change”
The present research finds that it is possible to eliminate the negative effect of system justification on environmentalism by encouraging people to regard pro-environmental change as patriotic and consistent with protecting the status quo (i.e., as a case of “system-sanctioned change”). Expand
Stripped of illusions? Exploring system justification processes in capitalist and post-Communist societies.
  • A. Cichocka, J. Jost
  • Sociology, Medicine
  • International journal of psychology : Journal international de psychologie
  • 2014
It is confirmed that there are lower levels of system justification in post-Communist countries, and it is found that system justification possesses similar social and psychological antecedents, manifestations and consequences in the two types of societies. Expand