The Assessment of Relative Deprivation in Ted.R. Gurr’s Theory

Document Type : Research Paper



In his relative deprivation theory, Ted Robert Gurr is on the belief that if any obstacle is created to the way of the people’s achievement of their objectives and demands, they will become subject to relative deprivation and the natural and biological outcome of such a situation is to harm the source of the deprivation. Thus, relative deprivation is the result of the interval understood by the people as existing between their value expectations (demands) and value capabilities (belongings). But how can we achieve the psychological variable in relative deprivation? To answer this question and to assess the relative deprivation theory, Gurr describes this variable as mental in the cases he presents, and furthermore, he refers to the grand and structural variables.   Noting this paradox, this article tries to demonstrate that in order to scrutinize relative deprivation, one should explore the people’s mentalities. It should also be mentioned that the study of value capabilities, which is supposed to be conducted in an objective situation, is possible by referring to the mentalities of the actors of collective violence, considering the theory’s focus and subsequent problems arising from its structural outlook. On this basis, it is stressed that in order to evaluate relative deprivation, both the people’s value expectations (demands and oughts to) and their value capabilities (belongings and beings) have to be sought in their mentalities.


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