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social_class - Journal of Social Issues Vol 59 No 4 2003 pp...

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Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 59, No. 4, 2003, pp. 711--732 Social Class and Adolescents’ Beliefs about Justice in Different Social Orders Constance A. Flanagan and Bernadette Campbell With Luba Botcheva, Jennifer Bowes, Beno Csapo, Petr Macek, and Elena Sheblanova The Pennsylvania State University We report on the justice beliefs of 4508 adolescents from 4 security societies in transition to market economies (i.e., Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Russia) and from 2 opportunity societies (Australia and the United States). Using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), justice beliefs were examined as a function of type of society, social class, and gender. In the security societies, working-class teens wanted the state and schools to provide a safety net, while middle-class teens preferred that schools promote student autonomy and compe- tition but also reported the most negative school climates of any group. In the opportunity societies, working-class youth believed success was based on individ- ual merit, while middle class youth expressed more doubt about this connection. The stability of economic and political systems depends on diffuse support in the population for the principles on which the system is based (Easton & Dennis, 1969;Keil&McClintock,1983).Inotherwords,societiesremainstablewhenthere is a general consensus that the social order is just. This consensus is maintained by social policies and the practices of institutions such as schools which configure people’s options and inform their normative beliefs. The principles of the social order guide the goals and practices of institutions such as schools and children’s social theories incorporate the norms, expectations, and justifications emphasized in these environments (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Goodnow, Miller, & Kessel, 1995). Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Constance Flanagan, 336 Agricul- tural Administration Building, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802-2601 [e-mail: [email protected]]. We thank the editors and four anonymous reviewers for their suggestions for revisions. Support for this research project from the William T. Grant and Jacobs Foundations is gratefully acknowledged. 711 C 2003 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
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712 Flanagan and Campbell Still, the principles of a social order are not simply reproduced but are reconstructed and sometimes challenged by new generations, with schools playing a key role in this dynamic process (Carnoy & Levin, 1985). As we shall argue, the goals and practices of schools accommodate to fit the needs of changing social orders. Our article concerns adolescents normative views about justice what they think ought to be the responsibilities of states and citizens for people s welfare and what they view as appropriate roles and practices of schools. The empirical basis for our article is drawn from our program of work on adolescents interpretations of the social contract ’” by which we mean their views about the bargain or deal that
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