Relative Deprivation

Relative Deprivation refers to the perception or feeling of individuals or groups that they are being deprived of something they are entitled to, in comparison to others in their reference group or society.

Understanding Relative Deprivation

Relative Deprivation is a concept that relates to the subjective assessment of one’s position or situation, often in terms of socioeconomic status, in comparison to others. It is not an objective measure of material or absolute deprivation, but rather focuses on the perception of inequality.

Components of Relative Deprivation

There are two primary components of relative deprivation:

  • Comparative Evaluation: Individuals evaluate their own circumstances by comparing them to those of others. This comparison can be made with a specific reference group, such as peers, neighbors, or coworkers, or it can be a more general assessment of societal norms and expectations.
  • Sense of Entitlement: Relative deprivation often occurs when individuals feel that they are entitled to certain resources, opportunities, or outcomes but are not receiving them in proportion to others in their reference group.

Impact of Relative Deprivation

The perception of relative deprivation can have various consequences, including:

  • Psychological Distress: Relative deprivation can lead to feelings of frustration, resentment, and dissatisfaction, which may result in psychological distress for individuals or groups.
  • Social Unrest: When a large portion of a population perceives relative deprivation, it can contribute to social unrest, conflict, or inequality movements.
  • Collective Action: Relative deprivation can motivate individuals or groups to take collective action to challenge the perceived unfairness or fight for greater equality.

It is important to note that relative deprivation is a subjective concept and can vary among individuals based on their reference groups, cultural background, and personal aspirations.