A dark lens or a dark world? Conceptualising Justice Capital

Kendra J. Thomas
Published Online:
23 Aug 2021
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Early View Articles

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Perceptions of justice have been extensively researched within just world theory as both defensive coping mechanisms and as personal resources. This paper advocates for more programmatic efforts to be devoted to understanding perceptions of justice as rational reflections of individual access to justice. Justice Capital is conceptualised here as an individual difference based on status, microsystem authorities, effort–effect pipeline, voice, and society. These dimensions can overlap and operate on both personal and systemic levels. It is a form of capital to experience the effect of one's actions, to be treated fairly by authorities, to self‐advocate, and to live in a society that has a higher justice baseline. Currently, just‐world theory correlational research alternates between its positive and negative effects and between viewing belief in a just world as a predictor or as an outcome. For research to move forward productively in this field, researchers must articulate and investigate when self‐evaluations of justice are rational reflections of participants' individual access to justice and connect research to existing injustices. This paper points to existing evidence of a Justice Capital interpretation and suggests how this construct can advance the theory into new directions of empirical research.

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