Is equality now a reality

Social justice

Wolfgang Glatzer

To person

Dr. phil., born 1944; Professor of Sociology at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Robert-Mayer-Strasse 5, 60054 Frankfurt am Main.
Email: [email protected]

The perceived reality represents an independent dimension of reality. One speaks of perceived injustice when people consider their personal living conditions to be unjust.


Historically, perceived injustice [1] is not a new social problem, but it is attracting increasing attention. Time and again, the focus of public attention shifts to the fact that there are in some cases great differences between the living conditions felt by the broader population and what the media, scientists, managers and politicians define as reality. A striking example is the comparison of the attitudes of parliamentarians with those of the citizens. While the parliamentarians mostly see the economic conditions in Germany as fair, the population mostly regards them as unjust.

Do such fundamentally different perspectives on social reality endanger the normative homogeneity of society? The hypothesis of most social scientists is that a society can only maintain its integrative power if a large proportion of the people believe that it is fair.

The perceived reality of the population forms an independent dimension of reality. They can be found as "perceived inflation", "perceived temperature", "perceived social status", "perceived injustice" and in other dimensions. It is quite irrelevant whether the "official" reality corresponds to it in any way. Rather, it has its own structures, its own dynamics and its own social effects on social development. [3]