System Justification Theory - Politics | PoFo

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By Sivad
System justification theory (SJT) is a theory within social psychology that system-justifying beliefs serve a psychologically palliative function. It proposes that people have several underlying needs, which vary from individual to individual, that can be satisfied by the defense and justification of the status quo, even when the system may be disadvantageous to certain people. People have epistemic, existential, and relational needs that are met by and manifest as ideological support for the prevailing structure of social, economic, and political norms. Need for order and stability, and thus resistance to change or alternatives, for example, can be a motivator for individuals to see the status quo as good, legitimate, and even desirable.

According to system justification theory, people desire not only to hold favorable attitudes about themselves (ego-justification) and the groups to which they belong (group-justification), but also to hold positive attitudes about the overarching social structure in which they are entwined and find themselves obligated to (system-justification). This system-justifying motive sometimes produces the phenomenon known as out-group favoritism, an acceptance of inferiority among low-status groups and a positive image of relatively higher status groups. Thus, the notion that individuals are simultaneously supporters and victims of the system-instilled norms is a central idea in system justification theory. Additionally, the passive ease of supporting the current structure, when compared to the potential price (material, social, psychological) of acting out against the status quo, leads to a shared environment in which the existing social, economic, and political arrangements tend to be preferred. Alternatives to the status quo tend to be disparaged, and inequality tends to perpetuate.

ness31 wrote:Organized peer pressure :|

External pressure to conform is different, this an internal drive that stems from the need for stability, security, moral certainty, etc. You see it all the time on this board, people will just refuse to recognize massive glaring problems with the system because they derive everything from it, from their material success to their sense of self.

"It is precisely the absolute and thoughtless symbiosis with the deranged society, its ideologies and norms – despicable and flagrantly immoral but nevertheless legitimate and lawful within that world, and enjoying the assent of its “moral majority” – that is the embodiment of the banality of evil

What unites all types of evil, which are created in the different worlds of national and social interest groups, is that the “decent citizens” of all the worlds always require a semblance of self-evidence, normality, ideologies, ethos, the legitimization of a majority of some kind, laws of nature and man-made laws, and above all a sense of morality and mission to validate the evil. To that end, the “decent folk” create an abundance of “normative morality” that suits their egoistic group needs, but whose connection to morality that is measured by criteria of universal applicability, and of the existence of a “common world" is scant if not nonexistent. This tangled web of maintenance of evil and the ramified modes of the individual’s thoughtless collaboration with social and national evil, are recruited to normalize evil and create an arena of the banality of evil in the life of individuals, groups and nations."
Authority bias is the tendency to attribute greater accuracy to the opinion of an authority figure (unrelated to its content) and be more influenced by that opinion. This concept is considered one of the so-called social cognitive biases or collective cognitive biases. The Milgram experiment in 1961 was the classic experiment that established its existence.

Humans usually have deep-seated duty to authority, and tend to comply when requested by an authority figure. There are scholars who explain that individuals are motivated to view authority as deserving of their position and this legitimacy lead people to accept and obey the decisions that it makes. A theory called system justification theory articulates this phenomenon, particularly within its position that there is a psychological motivation for believing in the steadiness, stability and justness of the current social system.

In any society, a diverse and widely accepted system of authority allows the development of sophisticated structures for the production of resources, trade, expansion and social control. Since the opposite is anarchy, we are all trained from birth to believe that obedience to authority is right. Notions of submission and loyalty to legitimate rule of others are accorded values in schools, the law, the military and in political systems. The strength of the bias to obey a legitimate authority figure comes from systemic socialization practices designed to instill in people the perception that such obedience constitutes correct behavior.
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