Entitlement and the Affectional Bond: Justice in Close Relationships

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If the truth were told, this volume and its direct antecedents must rank among the most ambitious, if not simply pretentious, endeavors imag- inable, at least in the social sciences. The titles of the volume and the chapters, promising to integrate the experiences of the sense of justice and the affectional bonding of people in close relations, seem straightforward and reasonable enough. What they fail to convey, however, is the simple bald fact that we in the human social sciences have no firm grasp on either of these two fundamental experiences-what we sometimes call love and justice. To begin with, even as scientists committed to under- standing based upon systematic propositions linking publicly observable concepts, we have no clear consensus concerning the nature of the affec- tional bonds linking people in close relationships-love, intimacy, caring, mutual responsiveness, or the sense of justice, fairness, deserving, and in our efforts to under- entitlement. And we are continually handicapped stand these complex, moving experiences by the persistent tendency to reduce them to manifestations of, nothing but, familiar psychological or even biological processes- secondary rewards, selfish genes. So, why then this volume? Although there are many answers to the question, probably the most germane is that the basic issues are so im- portant and intriguing that the recent past has seen rather dramatic paral- lel growth in social scientists' interest in these two areas-justice and close relationships.