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Justice Beliefs in School: Distinguishing Ultimate and Immanent Justice

NCJ Number
Social Justice Research Volume: 15 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2002 Pages: 227-244
Jurgen Maes; Elisabeth Kals
Date Published
September 2002
18 pages
This article highlights recent developments in just world research including the belief in a just world and distinctions between immanent and ultimate justices.
Focusing on belief in a just world (BJW) research, this article describes current trends in BJW research including two separate components of just work research, immanent and ultimate justices. After arguing that BJW is an essential human motive, the authors briefly describe recent trends in just world research, maintaining that BJW is beginning to have increasingly positive connotations. Contending that the functions of BJW are particularly relevant to processes of learning, instruction, and educational psychology, this article discusses beliefs in immanent justice (BIJ) and beliefs in ultimate justice (BUJ), tested by this research. The authors conducted a pilot reform project by presenting questionnaires to 1,274 grammar school pupils in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, in order to examine just world beliefs particularly beliefs in immanent and ultimate justice. Questionnaire results indicate that not all forms of BJW functioned as coping resources. The authors found that while BUJ was well-suited to protect pupils’ mental well-being, BIJ might actually jeopardize well-being by being closely associated with the experience of rivalry and competition in class. Considering possible socialization of just world beliefs, the authors indicate that parenting behavior will shape children’s justice beliefs rather than the other way around and conclude that experiences with justice and injustice in school may influence adult life and attitudes toward lifelong learning. Tables, references