Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.
Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology
How to Cite
Glick, P. 2010. Scapegoating. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.
- Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Scapegoating is unfairly blaming a group for causing societal misfortunes (e.g., the Nazis blaming the Jews for Germany's loss of World War I). Mass frustrations, such as economic, political, and social crises, can lead to severe attacks against scapegoated groups, including ethnic cleansing and genocide. Early scapegoating theories invoked Freudian psychodynamics and, later, the frustration–aggression hypothesis. Both view scapegoating as displaced aggression, in which people vent frustrations on an innocent and usually weak and vulnerable victim. A recent approach, however, views scapegoating as rooted in stereotypes that exaggerate the power of successful minority groups.