Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo

Exclusion, Overview

  • Susan Opotow
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_503


To exclude is to shut out, hinder, bar, put out, or eject (Gove, 1993). Two related constructs, moral exclusion and social exclusion, describe how dominant groups marginalize particular kinds of people in ways that reduce or eliminate their access to essential and valued resources.


A thematic issue of Journal of Social Issues in 1990 introduced moral exclusion theory and its applications. Drawing on the construct, scope of justice, the psychological boundary for the applicability of justice (Deutsch, 1975), these papers described antecedents, processes, and outcomes of moral exclusion in schooling, immigration, and other societal contexts. They analyzed how excluding people from the scope of justice can become institutionalized and seem inevitable to justify harms experienced by excluded people as normal and routine (Opotow, 1990). Symptoms of exclusion include: victim blaming, unflattering and self-righteous comparisons, derogation, dehumanization,...

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Online Resources

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyJohn Jay College of Criminal Justice and The Graduate Center, City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA