In many ways, this volume has two foci. First and foremost, there is a focus on the important concepts of social comparison and social justice. At the same time, the chapters also illustrate research and theory in psychology that falls at the boundaries between more established subdisciplines ( Masters & Yarkin-Levin, 1984) or between science and society. In the present case, the boundaries are multifaceted and include those between classical issues within social psychology, concerning social comparison, relative deprivation, and the relation of knowledge on these topics to issues of just treatment in society.
The preparation of this volume was facilitated by a conference, supported by the Levi Strauss Foundation and the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies, at which most of the current authors presented initial drafts of their chapters and had the opportunity to exchange critical input. Subsequent to this conference, authors exchanged further drafts of their chapters with each other, providing another round of mutual comment and, at the same time, elaborating the opportunity for each author to be aware of the other contributions and to take note of those contributions in preparing the final versions of their papers, which appear in this book. Thus, while still representing largely the subdisciplines of social and developmental psychology, the range of topics covered is rather diverse, and the contributions are more interrelated than is perhaps typical for a volume of "collected" contributions. This is important to note because if boundaries are not spanned and knitted together, they remain just that: boundaries that separate not wholely unrelated issues, disguise in part the relatedness that does exist, and thus impede new developments of theory, research, and social application. This volume is intended to address this perceived need for intellectual commerce across such boundaries with a focus upon the important topic of social justice.