The Scope of Justice, Intergroup Conflict, and Peace

Susan Opotow

in The Oxford Handbook of Intergroup Conflict

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199747672
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

The Scope of Justice, Intergroup Conflict, and Peace


The scope of justice—our psychological boundary for fairness—changes over time in ways that have relevance for intergroup conflict and peace. A shrinking scope of justice narrows the applicability of justice and can support destructive intergroup conflict and violence, while an expanding scope of justice widens the applicability of justice and supports mutual respect, constructive approaches to conflict, and the potential for peaceful intergroup relations. The chapter first discusses the scope of justice along with two related constructs, moral exclusion and moral inclusion. It then presents four brief case studies, two on moral exclusion and two on moral inclusion. It concludes by comparing these two sets of cases, discussing their implications for a theory of exclusionary and inclusionary change and the relationship of such change to intergroup conflict and peace.

Keywords: Intergroup conflict; moral exclusion; moral inclusion; scope of justice; hate; violence; slavery; terrorism; postwar reconstruction; memorialization

Article.  10826 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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