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Neither fair nor unchangeable but part of the natural order: orientations towards inequality in the face of criticism of the economic system

Becker, Sarah and Sparks, Paul 2016. Neither fair nor unchangeable but part of the natural order: orientations towards inequality in the face of criticism of the economic system. Social Justice Research 29 (4) , pp. 456-474. 10.1007/s11211-016-0270-1

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Abstract

The magnitude of climate change threats to life on the planet is not matched by the level of current mitigation strategies. To contribute to our understanding of inaction in the face of climate change, the reported study draws upon the pro status quo motivations encapsulated within System Justification Theory. In an online questionnaire study, participants (N = 136) initially completed a measure of General System Justification. Participants in a “System-critical” condition were then exposed to information linking environmental problems to the current economic system; participants in a Control condition were exposed to information unrelated to either environmental problems or the economic system. A measure of Economic System Justification was subsequently administered. Regressions of Economic System Justification revealed interactions between General System Justification and Information Type: higher general system justifiers in the System-critical condition rated the economic system as less fair than did their counterparts in the Control condition. However, they also indicated inequality as more natural than did their counterparts in the Control condition. The groups did not differ in terms of beliefs about the economic system being open to change. The results are discussed in terms of how reassurance about the maintenance of the status quo may be bolstered by recourse to beliefs in a natural order.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: System justification Environment Economic system
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0885-7466
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 June 2017
Date of Acceptance: 8 August 2016
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2017 09:55
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/101065

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