Cover: A Theory of System Justification, from Harvard University PressCover: A Theory of System Justification in HARDCOVER

A Theory of System Justification

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Product Details


$46.00 • £36.95 • €41.50

ISBN 9780674244658

Publication Date: 07/14/2020


408 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

29 illus., 16 tables


Jost’s theory has far-reaching implications, and he offers numerous insights that political activists and social justice advocates can use to promote change… An essential resource for anyone who would like to better understand human cognition and behavior.—Evan A. Valdes, Journal of Constructivist Psychology

Why do some in the working class vote against their economic interests? Why do some women support Trump? In this long-awaited volume, summarizing 25 years of work, Jost explains why some members of subordinate groups adopt and defend positions objectively at odds with their best interests. A model of social science research, A Theory of System Justification brings the theoretical and empirical rigor of the academy to bear on real-world issues. For those seeking a better grasp of the times in which we live, Jost’s book is appointment reading.—Christopher S. Parker, author of Change They Can’t Believe In

A definitive synthesis of nearly three decades of pathbreaking research on the stubborn human tendency to embrace and defend oppressive systems. In prose that is both erudite and compelling, Jost reveals the insidious role of human psychology in producing and maintaining our most vexing social injustices, from economic inequality and sexual harassment to racial hierarchies and climate change. A Theory of System Justification will be a game-changer for lawyers, policymakers, activists, organizers, and anyone seeking to unearth the deeply rooted sources of our most profound social problems. In short, I can think of no more timely or valuable book.—Jon Hanson, Harvard Law School

System justification theory is one of social and psychological science’s most audacious attempts to address scientifically a problem at the heart of philosophy: the problem of ideology. Why do we so often accept the structural conditions into which we are born, conditions that make life less just for us and those around us? In this book, the culmination of decades of research, John Jost, its pioneer, summarizes a quarter-century of its discoveries and challenges. It is an essential resource.—Jason Stanley, author of How Fascism Works

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