Some Relevant Aspects Of Social And Psychological Perception Of Justice


The idea of ​​justice is formed by objective historical conditions and subjective factors, models of perception and behavior of subjects based on individual psychological characteristics – social behavior, personal experience, moral qualities. The article focuses on the socio-psychological perception of the role of justice: on the one hand, the concept of justice as a proportional distribution of social benefits; on the other, an assessment of the degree of its implementation in the social life of individuals and groups. Social norms of justice are historically determined, i.e. they are dependent on the needs and interests of the individual. The article aims to analyze the concept of justice through the prism of social interests and needs. Based on the results of empirical research, the authors argue that people assess the level, conditions of their existence and all events that affect their immediate interests and determine fairness of this or that phenomenon. Modern transformations associated with the exacerbation of global crises are leading to the emergence of new stereotypes of norms and behavior models. Signs of a global recession pose economic and political, social and psychological threats to humanity. Objectively, there is a trend to change the perception of a value system, in which the priority is the attitude of individuals to the concept of justice, based on their interests and needs. In modern conditions, the problem of relations between the social and individual psychological perception of justice as a basic value is relevant.

Keywords: justice, psychological perception, social justice, individual consciousness, public consciousness, social groups


In the scientific literature, the relationship between social and psychological perception of justice is analyzed by foreign and Russian philosophers, sociologists and psychologists.

The relevance of a theoretical and philosophical analysis of the model of justice or injustice through the ideas about socio-psychological perception has become obvious.

Justice, which is part of the value system, is a reflection of universal human, group, personal goals and interests. There are different "ideal types" in the social system, since each of us pursues different goals. Under this condition, justice acts as a principle that protects "socially recognized interests." Considering the importance of justice as a tool for personal assessment of reality, it is necessary to take into account differences within the interpretation of justice.

K. Jung believed that individual (personal) consciousness, which consists of conscious and unconscious, can contain both personal and collective elements. The personal element of individual consciousness is the conscious experience of external and internal stimuli that are amenable to direct restoration in consciousness, as well as from individual psychological and hereditary personality traits. The collective element is dominant in the worldview, which is made up of generally accepted prejudices, beliefs, norms, attitudes and principles (Jung, 2019).

Consciousness of society can be divided into models of perception.

K. Manheim minimized the possibilities of the individual as a subject capable of organizing a system of personal representations. The individual lives in a society that has organized a double predestination: he finds patterns of thinking and behavior, as well as needs and the method for their satisfaction, which are predetermined by society and family (Manheim, 1992).

The individual expresses himself in language of his group, possesses group thinking. At his disposal there are only specific words and their meanings. They determine his approach to the world around him, and make it possible to judge the sphere of activity in which objects were still accessible to the perception and use of the group as individuals.

For example, "mowgli" people brought up by animals cannot be involved in the social world, since they were initially connected to a completely different model of perception of reality, completely different forms and methods of behavior.

G. Marcuse believed that many needs are imposed by social interests in the process of suppression. The ability to do, enjoy or destroy, have or reject depends on whether or not it is desired and necessary for social institutions and interests (Marcuse, 2003).

All this refers to the systems of values, norms and ways of behavior imposed by society. The predominance of public consciousness over the individual one is a very important and effective mechanism associated with the consolidation of people and cohesion of society. But this narrows down the opportunity required for the emergence of alternative behavior models.

Problem Statement

An assessment of justice or injustice is determined by subjective factors and objective historical conditions, personal experience, psychological and moral properties and qualities.

Assessments of various social phenomena as fair and unjust are assessments offered by groups and social strata of the population.

People use ready-made ideas about just and unjust. These ideas were developed by social groups to which the individual belongs and society, enshrined in the morality of generations. They can be reflected both in public and individual opinions and behavior models.

The concept of justice is reflected in the mind with certain amendments, which express the individuality of a person. Society has developed the concept of justice, which serves as a certain objective social measure, with the help of which individual judgments about justice or injustice are formed.

The functional approach has limitations in the analysis of social and moral values ​​and norms. The social function of justice is the definition, as well as the regulation and protection of socially significant demands. This assumes the existence of universal norms of justice (elementary norms of human relations, conditions), as well as the constant emergence of social requirements aimed to regulate and adjust the existing norms of justice.

The traditional definition of justice, deeply rooted in the mass consciousness, has led society to a latent rejection of Western experience and cultural and spiritual crises. The crises are aggravated by a significant gap between the declared social goals of state institutions and established practice of ignoring social needs and problems of society.

Such a gap affects the general crisis of the legitimacy of power at all levels of power structures, and does not make it possible to form effective economic, political, moral and legal relations.

Under such conditions, a philosophical analysis of justice in the value system of the population is aimed at:

  • determining the depth and nature of this gap;
  • determining the degree of satisfaction of a person with changes and their legitimacy;
  • identifying factors contributing to the emergence of the most adequate (fair) living conditions;
  • predicting behavior options.

Research Questions

The meaning and purpose of the theory of justice, according to J. Rawls, is to establish the substantive principles of justice, i.e., to determine requirements on which the parties to the social contract must build their relations.

In the XX century, Western social philosophy abandoned this goal, seeing in the concept of justice a form of obligations and problems of universality. Formal theories of justice (in ethics, jurisprudence, political sciences, etc.) either presuppose the impossibility of solving substantive problems, or admit the existence of a substantive theory at a lower level, developing out of connections with the formal theory and parallel to it. Rawls seeks to overcome this parallelism, unite the substantive and formal theories of justice (Rawls, 1995).

D. Finnis identifies three main elements in the concept of justice, believing that this concept can be applied to all situations in which these elements can be found together (Finnes, 2019). The first element is a "focus on others".

1. The problem of justice arises when people have something in common. In this case, the concept of justice is interpersonal. The second element of the concept of justice is a duty, presented as what we must do in relation to another person in accordance with the fact that the other person can realize his personal interests. Thus, the concept of duty is defined on the basis of the opposite and symmetrical concept of interest.

The third element of justice is equality (arithmetic and geometric / proportional / equality). The requirement for equality / or / balance in relations between people arises from the need to respect the interests of all members of society.

The socio-philosophical and sociological analysis of justice makes it possible to compare the forms of social, political, economic, spiritual systems of society. But the comparison of the desired and the actual in public opinion is carried out by means of polar indicators such as "justice" and "injustice", "positive" and "negative", "presence" and "absence", "satisfaction" and "dissatisfaction", etc. Public opinion about the processes of reality serves as a criterion for the population to achieve a certain quality of life, and reflects a stereotype of thinking and behavior.

2. An individual's or social group's assessment of a relationship that is just or unjust may depend on a type of comparison, as well as different options for their combination.

The result participates in the personal self-esteem.

The individual determines a social position by means of the following components:

  • financial situation;
  • the ability to possess and use various types of public resources;
  • social identification, comparison of the own social position with the positions of other people.

These components have a characteristic of the general relationship of the subject to the system, and they require an even distribution of costs associated with its structure. If these costs are disproportionately higher, social justice cannot be achieved, even when all people equally benefit from the system of exchange and distribution.

Purpose of the Study

Justice includes three forms: distributive, corrective and procedural. People imagine that justice exists in two forms – values and evaluative indicators.

The level of assessment of such a social system and relations, which are “just” or “unjust”, makes it possible to determine the degree of satisfaction of the individual with his position in the social system of relations. This assessment is based on a specific type of comparison.

The social function of justice is the regulation, definition and protection of significant requirements and norms, affecting the financial situation, and the ability to possess various types of public resources.

The concepts "justice" or "injustice" are elements of the individual and social assessment of social relations. They shape requirements for the social environment. The theory of a just world developed by M. Lerner is of great interest. People believe that any reward or punishment is deserved, fair. Subsequently, a distinction was made between fairness and merit, emphasizing, however, their close connection with each other (Lerner, 2003).

Belief in a just world creates expectations, through the prism of which people assess the current interaction. A person who is confident that the world is fair gives a high assessment of communication, which, in turn, influences the analysis of information and affects the perception of participants. In particular, the more people believe in a just world, the more positively they assess the social interaction. For example, people do not feel injustice when they are promoted to a position of a person who meets the criteria of their social role, such as education, qualifications, professionalism.

The question of justice arises when the question of proportionality between the rights and duties of people in society arises, as evidenced by the empirical studies of socio-psychological perception of justice by modern youth. Justifying justice as a criterion for making social decisions, we pose an important research task that needs to be understood theoretically and empirically. The urgency of such a problem depends on the fact that justice is a means of legitimizing public relations and changes, reflecting universal human, group and personal interests.

Research Methods

Results of the annual sociological survey "Perception of the concept of social justice by Chechen youth in the conditions of modern reality" provide a visual representation. This research is carried out by the method of standardized interviews. The survey covers about 1050 respondents – students of state universities of the Chechen Republic, living in different regions and cities of the republic – Argun, Gudermes, Urus-Martan, Shali, Grozny.


According to the survey, when asked about social justice, the majority of respondents answered: “Equality of all citizens before the law” (31 %). “The absence of differences in the living standards” was mentioned by 15.7 % of the respondents, and the equality of opportunities for realizing their abilities was mentioned by only 10 %. (Shamileva, 2019). At the same time, we have emphasized that one should not equate the stereotypes of individuals' perceptions at the cognitive (personal) and ontological (real) levels, and here the problem is associated with the factor of differences in the level of socialization of individuals. Considering the priority measures implemented by the government to achieve social justice, the respondents gave the first place to “Ensuring social responsibility of everyone in their place (study, work, family)” (27.5 % of the respondents). The second place in the hierarchy of these measures was given to "Creating conditions for consistency between the profession and education and qualifications" (21.5 %) (Shamileva, 2019).


The concept of justice is not accidental. It is one of the central components in most political ideologies. Such views of justice are not neutral. Based on the sociological theory, this concept contains the requirement of correspondence between the practical role of individuals (social strata, groups) in society and their social status, between their rights and obligations, work and remuneration, merit and public recognition, crime and punishment ...

Mentioning the concept of justice, people assess the level, conditions of their existence and all events that affect their immediate interests and determine the degree of justice. The assessment depends on the level of concepts. The results of this assessment are reflected in the slogans of political parties.

The implementation of principles associated with social justice is not an easy attempt to keep up with people's needs. This implementation pursues pragmatic goals – justice is a necessary requirement for the normal reproduction of human resources in society The government policy should be designed to harmonize existing relations in society, strive to prevent the emergence and development of acute conflicts. Justice is a value associated with material, social, political, and legal status and psychological perception at the level of individual consciousness, which is primarily due to the dependence of the norms of people's behavior on their needs and interests.


  • Finnes, J. (2019). Natural law and natural rights. Moscow: Irisen.

  • Jung, K.G. (2019). The problems of the soul of our time. St. Petersburg: Peter.

  • Lerner, M.J. (2003). The Justice Motive: Where Social Psychologists Found It, How they Lost It, and Why They May Not Find It Again. Personality and Soc. Psychol. Rev., 7, 388–399.

  • Manheim, K. (1992). Ideology and Utopia. Part 1. Moscow; St. Petersburg.

  • Marcuse, G. (2003). One-dimensional person. Moscow: REFL-BOOK.

  • Rawls, J. (1995). The theory of justice. Novosibirsk: Novosibirsk Univer.

  • Shamileva, R.K., Umarova, Z.Ya. (2019). On the question of justice as a social value. Retrieved from: DOI: 10.15405/epsbs.2019.12.04.4

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17 May 2021

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Kamilevna Shamileva, R., Muslievich Ibragimov, M., Yasuevna Umarova, Z., Khasmagomedovna Khasaeva, T., & Shavalovna Generdukaeva, Z. (2021). Some Relevant Aspects Of Social And Psychological Perception Of Justice. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 2489-2494). European Publisher.