Lorenzo Cena

The Relative Deprivation Theory in the contemporary social and political landscape: A literature review

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: relative deprivation, populism, social comparison

In this theoretical review, I discuss the social-psychological literature on relative deprivation. First, I present the historical origins of this construct, proposed by Samuel Stouffer in 1949, and examine the process, antecedents and outcomes of relative deprivation. Then I differentiate relative deprivation on two axes: absolute versus relative deprivation and egoistic versus fraternalistic relative deprivation. I offer an overview of the most used scales and experimental methods for the measure and manipulation of relative deprivation. I consider the implications of this perception in the contemporary socio-political landscape and in particular their possible correlation with the worldwide rising tide of populism in recent years. Finally, in the conclusions, I discuss future applications of the theory of relative deprivation and interesting research fields to explore.

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