Relative deprivation theory belongs to a family of social evaluation theories (Pettigrew, 1967) that have as their common bond a focus on the social comparative nature of social judgments. The core of the relative deprivation (RD) construct is that when people's expectations about the goods and conditions of life to which they believe they are entitled are thwarted, they become angry and are motivated to redress the perceived inequity. Judgments about entitlements can only be made relatively – people compare their current or anticipated outcomes with those of other individuals or groups. Unfortunately, as with most members of the family of social evaluation theories, when RD theory has been applied to major social issues, it has typically been in a post hoc manner. As a theory, it will only mature if it lends itself to prediction, rather than retrospection. This point has been made for several decades now. One reason why RD theory has been applied retrospectively more than prospectively is the relative absence of testable models linking the perception of deprivation, through various mediators, to behavioral outcomes. In this chapter we attempt to specify such a model. The model we suggest integrates Folger's Referent Cognition Theory (RCT) of RD (Folger, 1984, 1986, 1987; Mark & Folger, 1984) and Weiner's version of attribution theory (1985, 1986, 1995). We begin by describing RCT, and claim that it is a general, useful, and parsimonious model of RD.
|Title of host publication||Relative deprivation theory:|
|Subtitle of host publication||Specification, development, and integration|
|Editors||Iain Walker, Heather Smith|
|Publisher||Cambridge Univeristy Press|
|Number of pages||25|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|