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Social identity explanations of system justification: Misconceptions, criticisms, and clarifications

Rubin, Mark and Owuamalam, Chuma Kevin and Spears, Russell and Caricati, Luca (2023) 'Social identity explanations of system justification: Misconceptions, criticisms, and clarifications.', European Review of Social Psychology .


In this article, we reply to Jost et al.'s (Citation2023) rejoinder to our article reviewing evidence for the social identity model of system attitudes (SIMSA; Rubin et al., Citation2023). We argue that (1) SIMSA treats system justification as the outcome of an interaction between general social psychological process and specific historical, political, cultural, and ideological environments; (2) it does not conflate perceived intergroup status differences with the perceived stability and legitimacy of those differences, (3) it is not fatalistic, because it assumes that people may engage in social change when they perceive an opportunity to do so; (4) it adopts a non-reductionist, social psychological explanation of system justification, rather than an individualist explanation based on individual differences; (5) it presupposes “existing social arrangements”, including their existing legitimacy and stability, and assumes that these social arrangements are either passively acknowledged or actively supported; and (6) it is not reliant on minimal group experiments in its evidence base.

Item Type:Article
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
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Publisher statement:© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Date accepted:21 February 2023
Date deposited:24 March 2023
Date of first online publication:08 March 2023
Date first made open access:24 March 2023

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