The perceived relationship between the belief in a just world and sociopolitical ideology
- Cite this article as:
- Dittmar, H. & Dickinson, J. Soc Just Res (1993) 6: 257. doi:10.1007/BF01054461
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Lerner (1977, 1980) located the origins of the “belief in a just world” (BJW) in both individual motivational needs and social learning. To address the lack of subsequent research or discussion on possible social origins of the BJW, this paper investigates the social meaning of the BJW in the context of sociopolitical ideology. 173 participants, who defined themselves as politically right-wing, moderate/liberal, or left-wing, completed the BJW scale (Rubin and Peplau, 1975) twice, once from their own viewpoint and once from the perspective of either a right-wing or a left-wing person. Participants differed in their own BJW according to their political beliefs, but were able at the same time to predict consensually another person's just world beliefs on the basis of a political label, independently of their own political orientation. These findings clearly demonstrate social aspects of the belief in a just world and therefore raise the possibility of a normative, socially constructed basis for it.