Envy, Inferiority, and Injustice: Three Bases of Anger About Inequality

Colin Wayne Leach

in Envy

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780195327953
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199301485 | DOI:
Envy, Inferiority, and Injustice: Three Bases of Anger About Inequality

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This chapter examines the relationship between anger about inequality based in envy and that based in inferiority (domain or global) or injustice. To make this possible, envy must be conceptualized in a more narrow way than in most previous treatments. The first section argues that envy is best conceptualized as anger resulting from a frustrated desire for a fortune that is possessed by another party but is perceived as possible for oneself (and thus is something one feels one deserves). The second and third sections suggest that inferiority (domain or global) and perceived injustice may serve as conceptually independent bases of anger about inequality. Although inferiority-based anger and justice-based anger may co-occur with envy, become blended with envy, or be displaced or dissembled expressions of hidden envy, anger based in (domain or global) inferiority or injustice should be distinguished from that based in envy. In essence, the chapter echoes others in arguing that to understand the association between envy and a sense of injustice, envy cannot be conceptualized in a way that necessarily includes a sense of injustice or perceived inferiority.

Keywords: anger; inequality; envy; inferiority; injustice

Chapter.  11850 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Psychology

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