Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

From Realistic Conflict to Relative Deprivation: Rethinking the Psychology of Modern Antisemitism

Kauders, Anthony



This essay traces the recent critique of realistic conflict theory as it pertains to the study of antisemitism. In doing so, it will provide an overview of the arguments comprising the debate, outline the ways in which these arguments depend on specific psychological notions, and question whether the notions involved provide sufficient depth and detail to account for antisemitic behavior. The aim of this article is two-fold. First, it seeks to demonstrate that realistic conflict theory relies on psychological premises, in this case assumptions that approximate what social psychologists call social inference theory. Since realistic conflict theory relies so heavily on social inference, it is difficult to address "real conflict" without at the same time invoking long-term prejudice. Second, the article suggests that relative deprivation theory may contribute to the field of antisemitism studies by bridging the epistemological gap between "realistic conflict" and "psychological fantasy," demonstrating how "objective" change occasions conflicting feelings of entitlement and equally conflicting perceptions of social justice.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 14, 2021
Publication Date Oct 26, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2024
Journal Antisemitism Studies
Print ISSN 2474-1809
Electronic ISSN 2474-1817
Publisher Indiana University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 2
Pages 208-240
Publisher URL