Justice seems not to be for all: Exploring the scope of justice

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Lima-Nunes, Aline ; Pereira, Cícero Roberto ; Correia, Isabel (2013)
  • Publisher: Inquisitive Mind
  • Subject: Justiça | Exclusão | Inclusão

The idea that “justice is for everyone” seems to be over. A justice perception can have unfair consequences for those who are perceived not to be included within the boundaries of fairness. This is what the scope of justice is all about: who is within and who is outside of the “justice boundaries”. This paper intends to clarify the concept and explain how social psychologists work with it in real-life contexts. We argue that the scope of justice is a key concept that helps us to understand a broad range of intergroup conflicts, besides being an understudied phenomenon that motivates a variety of justice-related issues such as deservingness, animal rights, discrimination and environmental conflict. We also discuss and review the relevant literature concerning the psychological and social functions of the scope of justice, highlighting its possible antecedents and consequences. Finally, we outline the current applied research into the role played by processes used to legitimize damaging behaviors against people who are perceived to be outside of the scope of justice. In light of this concept, the “justice is for everyone” maxim should probably be changed to “justice is for those who are not excluded from our boundaries of fairness”.
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