Social class and ideologies of inequality : How they uphold unequal societies
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Especially after the Great Recession, many societies are becoming increasingly unequal. This is occurring despite clear evidence that inequality undermines personal and social wellbeing, and impairs the safe functioning of our societies. What individual and situational factors might be acting to maintain and deepen inequality? Although it is known that the main causes of inequality are macro economic, there are also some psychosocial factors that can contribute to maintain and even to heighten it. These last factors will be the focus of this paper. In Study 1, we show that feeling higher class and justifying the economic system together increase the perception that actual resource-distribution is fair, and this in turn reduces the extent to which people see their society as unequal; effectively, social class and system justification blind people to inequality. In Study 2, we go beyond blinded inequality to examine beliefs that oppose wealth redistribution. We measured economic system justification (ESJ) and social dominance (SDO) beliefs, finding that both acted to deepen inequality; people with strong ESJ or SDO tend not to endorse governmental and non-governmental activities that reduce inequality. Further, these effects were mediated by a belief in dispositional poverty (i.e., internal causes for being poor). Combined, these studies point to the important role of individual beliefs about social standing (subjective SES), but especially ideology regarding the organization of society (ESJ, SDO) in maintaining and deepening levels of inequality.
Rodriguez-Bailon , R , Bratanova , B A , Willis , G , Lopez-Rodriguez , L , Sturrock , A & Loughnan , S 2017 , ' Social class and ideologies of inequality : How they uphold unequal societies ' Journal of Social Issues , vol. 73 , no. 1 , pp. 99-116 . https://doi.org/10.1111/josi.12206
Journal of Social Issues
Copyright © 2016, © 2017 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1111/josi.12206
DescriptionThis research was partly supported by grant No. PSI2013-45678P, from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación) to the first author.
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