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A (2004). A decade of system justification theory: Accumulated evidence of conscious and unconscious bolstering of the status quo

By John T. Jost, Mahzarin R. Banaji and Brian A. Nosek


Most theories in social and political psychology stress self-interest, intergroup conflict, ethnocentrism, homophily, ingroup bias, outgroup antipathy, dominance, and resistance. System justification theory is influenced by these perspectives—including social identity and social dominance theories—but it departs from them in several respects. Advocates of system justification theory argue that (a) there is a general ideological motive to justify the existing social order, (b) this motive is at least partially responsible for the internalization of inferiority among members of disadvantaged groups, (c) it is observed most readily at an implicit, nonconscious level of awareness and (d) paradoxically, it is sometimes strongest among those who are most harmed by the status quo. This article reviews and integrates 10 years of research on 20 hypotheses derived from a system justification perspective, focusing on the phenomenon of implicit outgroup favoritism among members of disadvantaged groups (including African Americans, the elderly, and gays/lesbians) and its relation to political ideology (especially liberalism-conservatism). KEY WORDS: ideology, system justification, intergroup relations, implicit bias There is a cluster of related theories that are by now so prevalent in social science that they strike the contemporary reader as self-evidently true. Although these theories are by no means indistinguishable, they share a set of common features, including the tenets that groups serve their own interests, develop ideolo

Year: 2013
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