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KICJ Research Reports

A prototype for legal fairness in Korean society 사진
A prototype for legal fairness in Korean society

Abstract

  This study explores the multifaceted concept of fairness, an extensively debated yet ambiguously defined topic. Adopting a prototype analysis, a bottom-up approach that captures laypeople’s perspectives, this research aims to delineate the construct of fairness and examine its relationships with associated constructs. In Study 1, we gathered and analyzed responses from a Korean demographic, generating a list of characteristics indicative of fairness. In Study 2, the characteristics identified in Study 1 were methodically categorized into two distinct groups: central and peripheral features. This categorization was based on their degree of relatedness to the concept of fairness. Our results partially align with previous scholarly definitions of fairness, while also highlighting certain aspects that merit greater attention. Integrating these findings with existing literature, we propose a multifaceted definition of fairness encompassing equality, impartiality, adherence to rules, honesty, transparency, and democratic principles. This definition conceptualizes fairness as equality of opportunity at the individual level, the impartial and honest enforcement of rules at the interpersonal level, and the embodiment of democracy in a transparent political system at the societal level. Our research contributes a nuanced understanding of fairness and its interconnectedness with related constructs, offering a foundational perspective that could enhance future studies in this significant field.

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