Moral exclusion in the context of social desirability


The article considers such terms as social and moral exclusion in the context of the empirical study of collective representations. The authors define the origins of both terms and name those social groups that have historically been subject to exclusion in certain social areas. Moral exclusion is considered in terms of the applicability of moral norms to certain groups provided the cultural norms that exist in the society. Morality operationalizes our sense of justice by defining what and to whom we owe, whose needs, views and well-being are considered and whose are not. Our moral standards are applied to the people we value, and define those within our sphere of justice (or ‘moral community’, such as family members and friends) and those outside it. The excluded groups are considered as out-groups, and their inconveniences and deprivations seem normal, since in relation to them, justice seems inappropriate and moral norms inapplicable. Many social issues cause moral disputes about whether, for instance, an HIV-infected or drug addict deserves help especially from the state. The study aimed at identifying the presence or absence and the degree of moral exclusion of certain social groups. The article is based on the results of the survey of Moscow students conducted in 2021. A special block of the questionnaire consisted of the adapted version of the Marlow-Crown social desirability scale. The factor analysis allowed to identify the most influential factors of moral exclusion of certain groups for students, and the answers were analyzed in terms of readiness to give socially desirable answers to sensitive questions. The considered groups were chosen during focus groups and are not fully delinquent or stigmatized, i.e., the most important fact is whom the students exclude from the members of their personal moral community.

About the authors

Zh. V. Puzanova

RUDN University

Author for correspondence.
Miklukho-Maklaya St., 6, Moscow, 117198, Russia

A. G. Tertyshnikova

RUDN University

Miklukho-Maklaya St., 6, Moscow, 117198, Russia


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Copyright (c) 2022 Puzanova Z.V., Tertyshnikova A.G.

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