Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To see papers related to the one you are viewing…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

When there are articles or videos related to the one you are viewing, you will see a related papers icon next to the title, like this: RelatedPapers32Final3For example:


Click on it and you will see a bibliographic list of papers that are related (including the current one).  Related papers may be papers which are commentaries, responses to commentaries, erratum, and videos discussing the paper.  Since they are not part of the original source material, they are added by PEP editorial staff, and may not be marked as such in every possible case.


For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Taylor, F.K. Rey, J.H. (1953). The Scapegoat Motif in Society and its Manifestations in a Therapeutic Group. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 34:253-264.

(1953). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 34:253-264

The Scapegoat Motif in Society and its Manifestations in a Therapeutic Group

F. Kräupl Taylor, M.D., DPM and J. H. Rey, M.D.

The persecution and massacre of scapegoats has often assumed such epidemic proportions, in both ancient and modern history, that one is tempted to speak of a psycho-social disease with a potentially high mortality rate. Such a disease warrants attention even when it appears in an abortive and relatively harmless form.

In this paper we intend to consider briefly, in the first part, some aspects of the psychological and sociological implications of scapegoat phenomena. In the second part we shall describe the observation of such phenomena in a therapeutic group.


The Psychogenesis of the Need for Scapegoats

The name scapegoat derives from a religious ceremony which was designed to transfer the guilt of the Jewish people to an animal; in this case, a goat. Other religious cults have known similar practices. Often a human being was chosen as the recipient of the displaced guilt. Anthropologists, moreover, have described many superstitious customs in primitive people which had a similar purpose. The essence of all these procedures was the transfer of guilt by means of a magic rite.

Such procedures have always been closely associated with aggressive and extrapunitive attitudes. In some ancient scapegoat ceremonies which ended in the sacrificial death of the chosen victim, this aggressiveness was unmistakably manifested. It is possible that the notoriety of these homicidal ceremonies has tended to distort the original meaning of the term scapegoat. At least, the term is to-day often loosely applied to denote no more than a whipping-boy on whom angry feelings can be vented when the person who is the legitimate target of anger cannot be openly attacked.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2018, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.