2004-01-13 13:57:30 UTC
The Scapegoat Society website
The Scapegoat Society, Forest Row, East Sussex, RH18 5JF, England.
BRIEF OUTLINE OF THE SCAPEGOAT SOCIETY
The Scapegoat Society was formed in the autumn of 1997 for those
concerned with the dynamics of attributing blame to others - the core of
scapegoating and demonizing. The Scapegoat Society is a resource both
for people who have experienced being a scapegoat, and for people
working professionally to resolve scapegoat problems.
The age-old phenomenon of scapegoating shows up everywhere. It causes
great anxiety and misery. Scapegoats are found in almost every social
context: in school playgrounds, in families, in small groups, and in
large organizations. Whole nations may be scapegoated. The work of The
Scapegoat Society [non-profit] is to raise consciousness about
scapegoating and its dynamics so as to make it easier to resist and root
Merely to avoid awkwardness we use the masculine pronoun throughout. For
the convenience of search engines we use some American spellings.
Scapegoating is a hostile social - psychological discrediting routine by
which people move blame and responsibility away from themselves and
towards a target person or group. It is also a practice by which angry
feelings and feelings of hostility may be projected, via inappropriate
accusation, towards others. The target feels wrongly persecuted and
receives misplaced vilification, blame and criticism; he is likely to
suffer rejection from those who the perpetrator seeks to influence.
Scapegoating has a wide range of focus: from "approved" enemies of very
large groups of people down to the scapegoating of individuals by other
individuals. Distortion is always a feature.
FOR SCAPEGOAT TARGETS
First of all build an understanding of what has been going on, not just
on the surface, but deeper as well. What is your scapegoater really
trying to achieve? You can deepen your knowledge by studying the
material on this site. If you feel you need expert help and you live in
the UK, you can look for a therapist by using our links page. Ask your
therapist for help with strategies for undoing the scapegoating as well
as for staying clear of being a scapegoat in the future.
If you are not going to use a therapist then concentrate on
understanding what is going on between you and whoever is your
scapegoater. Your awareness may help to run down and stop the process.
Make it clear that you have spotted the mechanism and that you will talk
freely about it until it stops - rather than continue to be available as
a scapegoater's target. Regrettably, The Scapegoat Society is not able
to offer direct help with episodes of scapegoating but there is a page
on undoing scapegoating that is worth considering.
OUTLINE OF SCAPEGOATING PSYCHO-DYNAMICS
In scapegoating, feelings of guilt, aggression, blame and suffering are
transferred away from a person or group so as to fulfill an unconscious
drive to resolve or avoid such bad feelings. This is done by the
displacement of responsibility and blame to another who serves as a
target for blame both for the scapegoater and his supporters. The
scapegoating process can be understood as an example of the Drama
Triangle concept [Karpman, 1968].
The perpetrator's drive to displace and transfer responsibility away
from himself may not be experienced with full consciousness -
self-deception is often a feature. The target's knowledge that he is
being scapegoated builds slowly and follows events. The scapegoater's
target experiences exclusion, ostracism or even expulsion.
In so far as the process is unconscious it is more likely to be denied
by the perpetrator. In such cases, any bad feelings - such as the
perpetrator's own shame and guilt - are also likely to be denied.
Scapegoating frees the perpetrator from some self-dissatisfaction and
provides some narcissistic gratification to him. It enables the
self-righteous discharge of aggression. Scapegoaters tend to have
extra-punitive characteristics [Kraupl-Taylor, 1953].
Scapegoating also can be seen as the perpetrator's defense mechanism
against unacceptable emotions such as hostility and guilt. In Kleinian
terms, scapegoating is an example of projective identification, with the
primitive intent of splitting: separating the good from the bad
[Scheidlinger, 1982]. On another view, scapegoaters are insecure people
driven to raise their own status by lowering the status of their target
HELP PUBLICIZE THE SCAPEGOAT SOCIETY
The Scapegoat Society spreads news about itself by asking people who
find these details of its work to pass them on to anyone who they think
might be interested. We think of these people, with gratitude, as our
The Scapegoat Society is a simple non-profit association; there are no
membership dues, committees, and so on. Instead, the Society simply
invites voluntary donations from supporters wanting to encourage its
work and help it to cover its expenses. No surplus is sought or
accumulated, no bank interest is earned. All funds received are strictly
for conducting and promoting the work of the Society.
The author of this description is the founder of The Scapegoat Society,
Simon Crosby. Simon has a psychotherapy practice in Forest Row, England.
He is writing a book on present-centred living Getting Free - Staying
Berlet, C & Lyons, M. N: Scapegoating.
Carter, C. A: Kenneth Burke and the Scapegoat Process. Norman, USA,
Collins, S: Step-parents and Their Children. London, 1988. p134+
Colman, A.D: Up from Scapegoating. Illinois, USA, 1995.
Douglas, T: Scapegoats: Transferring Blame. London 1995
Dworkin, A: Scapegoat: The Jews Israel, and Womens's Liberation. London
Engle, P: Mimesis and the Scapegoat.
Frazer, J.G: The Golden Bough [vol. 5]. London, 1993
Girard, R: The Scapegoat. USA, 1986
Karpman, S.B: Fairy Tales and Script Drama Analysis. In: Transactional
Analysis Bulletin VII no.26, 1968. p39-43.
Kraupl-Taylor, F & Rey, T. H: The Scapegoat Motif [etc]. Int. J.
Psychoanalysis 34, 1953. p253-264.
Lewis, D: Loving and Loathing. London, 1985. p23+
Perera, S.B: The Scapegoat Complex. Toronto, 1986
Scheidlinger, S: On Scapegoating [etc]. Int J. Group Psychotherapy. 32,
Scapegoat Society 2003
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