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'''Scapegoating''' is a form of [[social punishment]]. The '''scapegoat''' was a [[goat]] that was driven off into the wilderness as part of the ceremonies of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in [[Judaism]] during the times of the Temple in Jerusalem. The rite is described in Leviticus 16. The word also refers, in modern parlance, to one who is blamed for misfortunes, often as a way of distracting attention from the real causes.
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'''Scapegoating''' is a form of [[social punishment]]. The '''scapegoat''' was a goat that was driven off into the wilderness as part of the ceremonies of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in [[Judaism]] during the times of the Temple in Jerusalem. The rite is described in Leviticus 16. The word also refers, in [[metaphor]], to one who is blamed for misfortunes, often as a way of distracting attention from the real causes.
   
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'''Scapegoating''' (from the verb "to [[:wikt:scapegoat#Verb|scapegoat]]") is the practice of singling out any party for unmerited negative treatment or [[blame]] as a [[scapegoat]].<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.outofthefog.net/CommonBehaviors/Scapegoating.html |title=Scapegoating |publisher=Out of the FOG |date= |accessdate=2012-03-07}}</ref> Scapegoating may be conducted by individuals against individuals (e.g. "Hattie Francis did it, not me!"), individuals against groups (e.g., "I failed because our school favors girls"), groups against individuals (e.g., "Jane was the reason our team didn't win"), and groups against groups (e.g., "Immigrants are taking all of the jobs").
   
== In the hebrew Bible ==
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A [[scapegoat]] may be an adult, sibling, child, employee, peer, ethnic or religious group, or country. A [[whipping boy]], [[identified patient]] or "[[fall guy]]" are forms of scapegoat.
[[Image:TheScapegoat-WilliamHolmanHunt.jpg|thumb|400px|'''''The Scapegoat''''' by William Holman Hunt, 1854. Hunt had this framed in a picture with the quotations "Surely he hath borne our Griefs and carried our Sorrows; Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of GOD and afflicted." (Book of Isaiah 53:4) and "And the Goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a Land not inhabited." (Leviticus 16:22)]]
 
   
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==At the individual level==
Two very similar-appearing male goats were brought into the courtyard of the Temple in Jerusalem on Yom Kippur as part of the Holy Service of that day. The high priest cast lots for the two goats. One goat was offered as a burnt offering, as was the bull. The second goat was the scapegoat. The high priest placed his hands on the head of the goat and confessed the sins of the people of Israel. The scapegoat was led away and let go in the wilderness according to Leviticus 16:22, although the [[Talmud]] adds that it was pushed over a distant cliff.
 
   
In [[Hebrew language|modern Hebrew]] ''[[Azazel]]'' is used derogatorily, as in ''lekh la-Azazel'' ("go to Azazel"), as in "go to hell". (Azazel is the word translated as "scapegoat" in the King James Version of the Bible.)
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A medical definition of scapegoating is:<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.mondofacto.com/facts/dictionary?scapegoating |title=scapegoating - Definition |publisher=Mondofacto.com |date=1998-12-12 |accessdate=2012-03-07}}</ref>
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:"Process in which the mechanisms of [[Psychological projection|projection]] or [[Displacement (psychology)|displacement]] are utilized in focusing feelings of [[aggression]], [[hostility]], [[frustration]], etc., upon another individual or group; the amount of [[blame]] being unwarranted."
   
== In Christianity ==
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Scapegoating is a tactic often employed to characterize an entire group of individuals according to the unethical or immoral conduct of a small number of individuals belonging to that group. Scapegoating relates to [[guilt by association]] and [[stereotyping]].
   
In [[Christianity|Christian]] [[theology]], the story of the scapegoat in Leviticus is interpreted as a symbolic prefiguration of the self-sacrifice of [[Jesus]], who takes the sins of humanity on his own head, having been driven into the 'wilderness' outside the city by order of the high priests.
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Scapegoated groups throughout history have included almost every imaginable group of people: genders, religions, people of different races or nations, people with different political beliefs, or people differing in behaviour from the majority. However, scapegoating may also be applied to organizations, such as governments, corporations, or various political groups.
   
''More recently'' the anthropology of [[René Girard]] has provided a reconstruction of the scapegoat theory. In Girard's view, it is humankind, not God, who has the problem with violence. Humans are driven by desire for that which another has or wants (mimetic desire). This causes a triangulation of desire and results in conflict between the desiring parties. This mimetic ''contagion'' increases to a point where society is at risk; it is at this point that the ''scapegoat mechanism'' is triggered. This is the point where one person is singled out as the cause of the trouble and is expelled or killed by the group. This person is the scapegoat. Social order is restored as people are contented that they have solved the cause of their problems by removing the scapegoated individual. And the cycle begins again. Girard contends that this is what happened in the case of [[Jesus]]. The difference in his case, however, is that he was resurrected from the dead and shown to be innocent. Thus we are made aware of our own violent tendencies and the cycle is broken. Satan, who is seen to be manifested in the contagion, is cast out. Thus Girard's work is significant as a re-construction of the ''Christus Victor'' [[atonement]] theory.
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'''Projection''': Unwanted thoughts and feelings can be unconsciously [[psychological projection|projected]] onto another who becomes a scapegoat for one's own problems. This concept can be extended to projection by groups. In this case the chosen individual, or group, becomes the scapegoat for the group's problems. "Political agitation in all countries is full of such projections, just as much as the backyard gossip of little groups and individuals."<ref>M.-L. von Franz, in C. G. Jung, ''Man and his Symbols'' (London 1964) p. 181</ref> Swiss psychiatrist [[Carl Jung]] considered indeed that "there must be some people who behave in the wrong way; they act as scapegoats and objects of interest for the normal ones".<ref>C. G Jung, ''Analytical Psychology'' (London 1976) p. 108</ref>
   
== In metaphor ==
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In psychopathology, projection is an especially commonly used [[defense mechanism]] in people with the following [[personality disorders]]:{{Citation needed|date=December 2009}}
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* [[antisocial personality disorder]]
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* [[borderline personality disorder]]
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* [[narcissistic personality disorder]]
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* [[paranoid personality disorder]]
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* [[psychopathy]]
   
Figuratively, a ''scapegoat'' is someone selected to bear [[blame]] for a [[calamity]]. '''Scapegoating''' is the act of holding a person, group of people, or thing responsible for a multitude of problems. Scapegoats can also be referred to as patsies.
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==At the group level==
   
=== Political/sociological scapegoating ===
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The '''scapegoat theory''' of inter-group conflict provides an explanation for the correlation between times of relative economic despair and increases in prejudice and violence toward [[Ingroups and outgroups|outgroups]].<ref>{{cite journal|last=Poppe|first=Edwin|title=Effects of changes in GNP and perceived group characteristics on national and ethnic stereotypes in central and eastern Europe.|journal=Journal of Applied Social Psychology|year=2001|volume=31|issue=8|pages=1689–1708}}</ref> For example, studies of anti-black violence in the southern US between 1882 and 1930 show a correlation between poor economic conditions and outbreaks of violence (e.g., lynchings) against blacks. The correlation between the price of cotton (the principal product of the area at that time) and the number of lynchings of black men by whites ranged from -0.63 to -0.72, suggesting that a poor economy induced white people to take out their frustrations by attacking an outgroup.<ref>{{cite journal|last=Hovland|first=C. I.|coauthors=Sears, R. R.|title=Minor studies of aggression: VI. Correlation of lynchings with economic indices.|journal=Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied|year=1940|volume=9|pages=301–310}}</ref>
   
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Scapegoating as a group however, requires that [[Ingroups and outgroups|ingroup]] members settle on a specific target to blame for their problems.<ref>{{cite book|last=Glick|first=Peter|title=Choice of Scapegoats. In: On the nature of prejudice: Fifty years after Allport. Dovidio, John F. (Ed.); Glick, Peter (Ed.); Rudman, Laurie A. (Ed.)|year=2005|publisher=Blackwell Publishing|location=Malden|pages=244–261}}</ref> Scapegoating is also more likely to appear when a group has experienced difficult, prolonged negative experiences (as opposed to minor annoyances). When negative conditions frustrate a group's attempts at successful acquisition of its most essential needs (e.g., food, shelter), groups may develop a compelling, shared ideology that - when combined with social and political pressures - may lead to the most extreme form of scapegoating: genocide.
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Scapegoating can also cause oppressed groups to lash out at other oppressed groups. Even when injustices are committed against a minority group by the majority group, minorities sometimes lash out against a different minority group in lieu of confronting the more powerful majority.
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'''In management''': Scapegoating is a known practice in management where a lower staff employee is blamed for the mistakes of senior executives. This is often due to lack of [[accountability]] in upper management.<ref name="it-scapegoat">[http://www.pmhut.com/the-art-of-scapegoating-in-it-projects The Art of Scapegoating in IT Projects] PM Hut, 15 October 2009</ref>
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For example, a teacher who constantly gets blamed or accused of wrongdoing could be a scapegoat if said teacher is only guilty of doing her job so well that she makes her coworkers and supervisory administration look bad. This could result in letters being placed in permanent files, condescending remarks from co-workers and constant blame finding from administration.
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=== Political/sociological scapegoating ===
 
Scapegoating is an important tool of [[propaganda]]; for example, the [[Jew]]s were singled out in [[Nazi propaganda]] as the source of [[Germany]]'s economic woes and political collapse.
 
Scapegoating is an important tool of [[propaganda]]; for example, the [[Jew]]s were singled out in [[Nazi propaganda]] as the source of [[Germany]]'s economic woes and political collapse.
   
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===Scapegoating in sports===
 
===Scapegoating in sports===
In [[sports]], scapegoats are common. In [[baseball]], [[Bill Buckner]] is blamed for losing the [[1986 World Series]] due to a critical error. In [[American football]], [[Scott Norwood]] is blamed for losing the [[Super Bowl]] for the [[Buffalo Bills]] during [[Super Bowl XXV]] by missing a key field goal. [[Andrés Escobar]], a Colombian [[football]] (soccer) player, was shot dead after he scored an [[own goal]] that knocked his team out of the 1994 World Cup. The fact that fans of the [[Chicago Cubs]] tell of a [[Curse of the Billy Goat]] to explain why their team has not won a [[National League]] pennant since [[1945]] should be viewed as a coincidence of language, regardless of how many fans may believe the story.
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In [[sports]], scapegoats are common. In baseball, Bill Buckner is blamed for losing the 1986 World Series due to a critical error. In American football, Scott Norwood is blamed for losing the Super Bowl for the Buffalo Bills during Super Bowl XXV by missing a key field goal. Andrés Escobar, a Colombian football (soccer) player, was shot dead after he scored an own goal that knocked his team out of the 1994 World Cup.
   
In [[2005]], [[ESPN Classic]] created the series [[The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame...]], in which it examines why the conceived scapegoat(s) should, in fact, ''not'' be held responsible.
 
   
 
=== Scapegoating in psychoanalytic theory ===
 
=== Scapegoating in psychoanalytic theory ===
 
[[Psychoanalytic theory]] holds that unwanted thoughts and feelings can be unconsciously [[psychological projection|projected]] onto another who becomes a scapegoat for one's own problems. This concept can be extended to projection by groups. In this case the chosen individual, or group, becomes the scapegoat for the group's problems.
 
[[Psychoanalytic theory]] holds that unwanted thoughts and feelings can be unconsciously [[psychological projection|projected]] onto another who becomes a scapegoat for one's own problems. This concept can be extended to projection by groups. In this case the chosen individual, or group, becomes the scapegoat for the group's problems.
   
==See also==
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==The "scapegoat mechanism" in philosophical anthropology==
   
* [[Shoot the messenger]]
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Literary critic and philosopher [[Kenneth Burke]] first coined and described the expression "scapegoat mechanism" in his books [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=99056219 ''Permanence and Change''] (1935), and [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=72433755 ''A Grammar of Motives''] (1945). These works influenced some [[philosophical anthropology|philosophical anthropologists]], such as [[Ernest Becker]] and [[René Girard]].
* [[Coincidence theory]]
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===René Girard===
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Girard developed the concept much more extensively as an interpretation of human culture. In Girard's view, it is humankind, not God, who has the problem with violence. Humans are driven by desire for that which another has or wants ([[René Girard#Mimetic desire|mimetic desire]]). This causes a triangulation of desire and results in conflict between the desiring parties. This mimetic ''contagion'' increases to a point where society is at risk; it is at this point that the ''scapegoat mechanism''<ref>[http://dumont.typepad.com/publications/Mimesis_Jean-Baptiste_Dumont.pdf Mimesis - The Scapegoat Model], Jean-Baptiste Dumont</ref> is triggered. This is the point where one person is singled out as the cause of the trouble and is expelled or killed by the group. This person is the scapegoat. Social order is restored as people are contented that they have solved the cause of their problems by removing the scapegoated individual, and the cycle begins again. The keyword here is "content", scapegoating serves as a psychological relief for a group of people. Girard contends that this is what happened in the case of Jesus. The difference in this case, Girard believes, is that he was resurrected from the dead and shown to be innocent; humanity is thus made aware of its violent tendencies and the cycle is broken. Thus Girard's work is significant as a re-construction of the ''[[Christus Victor]]'' [[Atonement in Christianity|atonement]] theory.
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==See also==
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* [[Black sheep effect]]
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* [[Stereotyping]]
   
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
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[[Category:Social punishment]]
 
[[Category:Social punishment]]
 
[[Category:Social behavior]]
 
[[Category:Social behavior]]
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[[CAtegory:Stereotyping]]
   
 
{{enWP|Scapegoat}}
 
{{enWP|Scapegoat}}

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Scapegoating is a form of social punishment. The scapegoat was a goat that was driven off into the wilderness as part of the ceremonies of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in Judaism during the times of the Temple in Jerusalem. The rite is described in Leviticus 16. The word also refers, in metaphor, to one who is blamed for misfortunes, often as a way of distracting attention from the real causes.

Scapegoating (from the verb "to scapegoat") is the practice of singling out any party for unmerited negative treatment or blame as a scapegoat.[1] Scapegoating may be conducted by individuals against individuals (e.g. "Hattie Francis did it, not me!"), individuals against groups (e.g., "I failed because our school favors girls"), groups against individuals (e.g., "Jane was the reason our team didn't win"), and groups against groups (e.g., "Immigrants are taking all of the jobs").

A scapegoat may be an adult, sibling, child, employee, peer, ethnic or religious group, or country. A whipping boy, identified patient or "fall guy" are forms of scapegoat.

At the individual levelEdit

A medical definition of scapegoating is:[2]

"Process in which the mechanisms of projection or displacement are utilized in focusing feelings of aggression, hostility, frustration, etc., upon another individual or group; the amount of blame being unwarranted."

Scapegoating is a tactic often employed to characterize an entire group of individuals according to the unethical or immoral conduct of a small number of individuals belonging to that group. Scapegoating relates to guilt by association and stereotyping.

Scapegoated groups throughout history have included almost every imaginable group of people: genders, religions, people of different races or nations, people with different political beliefs, or people differing in behaviour from the majority. However, scapegoating may also be applied to organizations, such as governments, corporations, or various political groups.

Projection: Unwanted thoughts and feelings can be unconsciously projected onto another who becomes a scapegoat for one's own problems. This concept can be extended to projection by groups. In this case the chosen individual, or group, becomes the scapegoat for the group's problems. "Political agitation in all countries is full of such projections, just as much as the backyard gossip of little groups and individuals."[3] Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung considered indeed that "there must be some people who behave in the wrong way; they act as scapegoats and objects of interest for the normal ones".[4]

In psychopathology, projection is an especially commonly used defense mechanism in people with the following personality disorders:[citation needed]

At the group levelEdit

The scapegoat theory of inter-group conflict provides an explanation for the correlation between times of relative economic despair and increases in prejudice and violence toward outgroups.[5] For example, studies of anti-black violence in the southern US between 1882 and 1930 show a correlation between poor economic conditions and outbreaks of violence (e.g., lynchings) against blacks. The correlation between the price of cotton (the principal product of the area at that time) and the number of lynchings of black men by whites ranged from -0.63 to -0.72, suggesting that a poor economy induced white people to take out their frustrations by attacking an outgroup.[6]

Scapegoating as a group however, requires that ingroup members settle on a specific target to blame for their problems.[7] Scapegoating is also more likely to appear when a group has experienced difficult, prolonged negative experiences (as opposed to minor annoyances). When negative conditions frustrate a group's attempts at successful acquisition of its most essential needs (e.g., food, shelter), groups may develop a compelling, shared ideology that - when combined with social and political pressures - may lead to the most extreme form of scapegoating: genocide.

Scapegoating can also cause oppressed groups to lash out at other oppressed groups. Even when injustices are committed against a minority group by the majority group, minorities sometimes lash out against a different minority group in lieu of confronting the more powerful majority.

In management: Scapegoating is a known practice in management where a lower staff employee is blamed for the mistakes of senior executives. This is often due to lack of accountability in upper management.[8]

For example, a teacher who constantly gets blamed or accused of wrongdoing could be a scapegoat if said teacher is only guilty of doing her job so well that she makes her coworkers and supervisory administration look bad. This could result in letters being placed in permanent files, condescending remarks from co-workers and constant blame finding from administration.

Political/sociological scapegoating Edit

Scapegoating is an important tool of propaganda; for example, the Jews were singled out in Nazi propaganda as the source of Germany's economic woes and political collapse.

Scapegoating is often more devastating when applied to a minority group as they are inherently less able to defend themselves. A tactic often employed is to characterize an entire group of individuals according to the unethical or immoral conduct of a small number of individuals belonging to that group, also known as guilt by association.

"Scapegoated" groups throughout history have included almost every imaginable group of people: adherents of different religion, people of different race or nation or political belief, people differing in behaviour of majority. However, scapegoating may also be applied to organizations, such as governments, corporations, or various political groups.

In industrialised societies, scapegoating of traditional minority groups is increasingly frowned upon. In the extreme, this may result in socially-enforced rules regarding speech, as in political correctness.

Compare: moral panic; hue and cry; witchhunt, shoot the messenger, Blame Canada

Scapegoating in sportsEdit

In sports, scapegoats are common. In baseball, Bill Buckner is blamed for losing the 1986 World Series due to a critical error. In American football, Scott Norwood is blamed for losing the Super Bowl for the Buffalo Bills during Super Bowl XXV by missing a key field goal. Andrés Escobar, a Colombian football (soccer) player, was shot dead after he scored an own goal that knocked his team out of the 1994 World Cup.


Scapegoating in psychoanalytic theory Edit

Psychoanalytic theory holds that unwanted thoughts and feelings can be unconsciously projected onto another who becomes a scapegoat for one's own problems. This concept can be extended to projection by groups. In this case the chosen individual, or group, becomes the scapegoat for the group's problems.

The "scapegoat mechanism" in philosophical anthropologyEdit

Literary critic and philosopher Kenneth Burke first coined and described the expression "scapegoat mechanism" in his books Permanence and Change (1935), and A Grammar of Motives (1945). These works influenced some philosophical anthropologists, such as Ernest Becker and René Girard.

René GirardEdit

Girard developed the concept much more extensively as an interpretation of human culture. In Girard's view, it is humankind, not God, who has the problem with violence. Humans are driven by desire for that which another has or wants (mimetic desire). This causes a triangulation of desire and results in conflict between the desiring parties. This mimetic contagion increases to a point where society is at risk; it is at this point that the scapegoat mechanism[9] is triggered. This is the point where one person is singled out as the cause of the trouble and is expelled or killed by the group. This person is the scapegoat. Social order is restored as people are contented that they have solved the cause of their problems by removing the scapegoated individual, and the cycle begins again. The keyword here is "content", scapegoating serves as a psychological relief for a group of people. Girard contends that this is what happened in the case of Jesus. The difference in this case, Girard believes, is that he was resurrected from the dead and shown to be innocent; humanity is thus made aware of its violent tendencies and the cycle is broken. Thus Girard's work is significant as a re-construction of the Christus Victor atonement theory.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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