Stripped of illusions? Exploring system justification processes in capitalist and post-Communist societies

Aleksandra Cichocka, John T. Jost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Sociologists and political scientists have often observed that citizens of Central and Eastern Europe express high levels of disillusionment with their social, economic and political systems, in comparison with citizens of Western capitalist societies. In this review, we analyze system legitimation and delegitimation in post-Communist societies from a social psychological perspective. We draw on system justification theory, which seeks to understand how, when and why people do (and do not) defend, bolster and justify existing social systems. We review some of the major tenets and findings of the theory and compare research on system-justifying beliefs and ideologies in traditionally Capitalist and post-Communist countries to determine: (1) whether there are robust differences in the degree of system justification in post-Communist and Capitalist societies, and (2) the extent to which hypotheses derived from system justification theory receive support in the post-Communist context. To this end, we summarize research findings from over 20 countries and cite previously unpublished data from a public opinion survey conducted in Poland. Our analysis confirms that there are lower levels of system justification in post-Communist countries. At the same time, we find that system justification possesses similar social and psychological antecedents, manifestations and consequences in the two types of societies. We offer potential explanations for these somewhat complicated patterns of results and conclude by addressing implications for theory and research on system justification and system change (or transition).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-29
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014

Fingerprint

Political Systems
Research
Psychology
Eastern Europe
Public Opinion
Poland
Economics
Justification
Illusion
Communist
Surveys and Questionnaires
Social Systems
Psychological

Keywords

  • Ideology
  • Legitimacy
  • Political participation
  • Post-Communism
  • System justification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Stripped of illusions? Exploring system justification processes in capitalist and post-Communist societies. / Cichocka, Aleksandra; Jost, John T.

In: International Journal of Psychology, Vol. 49, No. 1, 01.02.2014, p. 6-29.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{3d577f874e4043569a26e9d99ffa70b6,
title = "Stripped of illusions? Exploring system justification processes in capitalist and post-Communist societies",
abstract = "Sociologists and political scientists have often observed that citizens of Central and Eastern Europe express high levels of disillusionment with their social, economic and political systems, in comparison with citizens of Western capitalist societies. In this review, we analyze system legitimation and delegitimation in post-Communist societies from a social psychological perspective. We draw on system justification theory, which seeks to understand how, when and why people do (and do not) defend, bolster and justify existing social systems. We review some of the major tenets and findings of the theory and compare research on system-justifying beliefs and ideologies in traditionally Capitalist and post-Communist countries to determine: (1) whether there are robust differences in the degree of system justification in post-Communist and Capitalist societies, and (2) the extent to which hypotheses derived from system justification theory receive support in the post-Communist context. To this end, we summarize research findings from over 20 countries and cite previously unpublished data from a public opinion survey conducted in Poland. Our analysis confirms that there are lower levels of system justification in post-Communist countries. At the same time, we find that system justification possesses similar social and psychological antecedents, manifestations and consequences in the two types of societies. We offer potential explanations for these somewhat complicated patterns of results and conclude by addressing implications for theory and research on system justification and system change (or transition).",
keywords = "Ideology, Legitimacy, Political participation, Post-Communism, System justification",
author = "Aleksandra Cichocka and Jost, {John T.}",
year = "2014",
month = "2",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1002/ijop.12011",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "49",
pages = "6--29",
journal = "International Journal of Psychology",
issn = "0020-7594",
publisher = "Psychology Press Ltd",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Stripped of illusions? Exploring system justification processes in capitalist and post-Communist societies

AU - Cichocka, Aleksandra

AU - Jost, John T.

PY - 2014/2/1

Y1 - 2014/2/1

N2 - Sociologists and political scientists have often observed that citizens of Central and Eastern Europe express high levels of disillusionment with their social, economic and political systems, in comparison with citizens of Western capitalist societies. In this review, we analyze system legitimation and delegitimation in post-Communist societies from a social psychological perspective. We draw on system justification theory, which seeks to understand how, when and why people do (and do not) defend, bolster and justify existing social systems. We review some of the major tenets and findings of the theory and compare research on system-justifying beliefs and ideologies in traditionally Capitalist and post-Communist countries to determine: (1) whether there are robust differences in the degree of system justification in post-Communist and Capitalist societies, and (2) the extent to which hypotheses derived from system justification theory receive support in the post-Communist context. To this end, we summarize research findings from over 20 countries and cite previously unpublished data from a public opinion survey conducted in Poland. Our analysis confirms that there are lower levels of system justification in post-Communist countries. At the same time, we find that system justification possesses similar social and psychological antecedents, manifestations and consequences in the two types of societies. We offer potential explanations for these somewhat complicated patterns of results and conclude by addressing implications for theory and research on system justification and system change (or transition).

AB - Sociologists and political scientists have often observed that citizens of Central and Eastern Europe express high levels of disillusionment with their social, economic and political systems, in comparison with citizens of Western capitalist societies. In this review, we analyze system legitimation and delegitimation in post-Communist societies from a social psychological perspective. We draw on system justification theory, which seeks to understand how, when and why people do (and do not) defend, bolster and justify existing social systems. We review some of the major tenets and findings of the theory and compare research on system-justifying beliefs and ideologies in traditionally Capitalist and post-Communist countries to determine: (1) whether there are robust differences in the degree of system justification in post-Communist and Capitalist societies, and (2) the extent to which hypotheses derived from system justification theory receive support in the post-Communist context. To this end, we summarize research findings from over 20 countries and cite previously unpublished data from a public opinion survey conducted in Poland. Our analysis confirms that there are lower levels of system justification in post-Communist countries. At the same time, we find that system justification possesses similar social and psychological antecedents, manifestations and consequences in the two types of societies. We offer potential explanations for these somewhat complicated patterns of results and conclude by addressing implications for theory and research on system justification and system change (or transition).

KW - Ideology

KW - Legitimacy

KW - Political participation

KW - Post-Communism

KW - System justification

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84903518764&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84903518764&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/ijop.12011

DO - 10.1002/ijop.12011

M3 - Article

VL - 49

SP - 6

EP - 29

JO - International Journal of Psychology

JF - International Journal of Psychology

SN - 0020-7594

IS - 1

ER -