This article relates relative deprivation (RD) theory to a program of research that began with studies of observers’ judgments of “tall poppies” or high-status people and that subsequently focused on perceived deservingness and its relation to discrete emotions. The article reviews early and more recent research from this program and its theoretical basis. The author proposes some implications for RD theory that include a more detailed consideration of how deservingness and entitlement might affect RD at the individual and group levels; how resentment relates to perceived deservingness; how other discrete emotions might blend with resentment; how the analysis could be extended to relative advantage; how to account for the role of envy; and the need to develop a motivational analysis for the link between RD and possible outcomes of RD such as collective action. The author concludes that ideas from deservingness theory have much to offer future developments in RD theory and research.
- Relative deprivation