Discussions on the problems of the welfare state are increasingly framed in terms of citizenship rather than social justice. The popularity of the concept of citizenship raises the question of its implications for social justice theory and research. In this article it is argued that whereas the dominant approach in social justice is essentially individualistic, the concept of citizenship focuses rather on individuals as members of a societal community, from which both rights and obligations are derived. This focus on communal membership suggests three important topics for social justice theory and research: (i) the need to distinguish between a civic and a justice motive for human behavior, (ii) the need to specify the frame of reference respondents should use when they make their justice judgments, and (iii) the need to recognize the fact that justice judgments may result from both adhering to criteria of justice and considering the consequences of their application.

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doi.org/10.1007/BF01048707, hdl.handle.net/1765/71475
Social Justice Research
Department of Psychology

Bernts, T., d' Anjou, L., & Houtman, D. (1992). Citizenship and social justice. Social Justice Research, 5(2), 195–212. doi:10.1007/BF01048707