SCAPEGOATING has been on, in the Global Meltdown and recession, since mid-March 2008, culminating in the Lehman bros scacrifice mid-September: sincerely, searched for, wanted by their Padre Padrone in person, Mr Fuld (pane al pane e vino al vino). But why should Mr Fuld become now a scapegoat, à la Far West – as it happens in some sectors of the public opinion and scapegoating media?.
We desperately need a SUPERIOR civilisation, not going back to Far West and homo homini wolf ones.
Girard, René 1963. Dostoïevski, du double à l’unité. Paris: Plon. (English translation: Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky. Crossroad Publishing Company. 1997)
— 1972, La violence et le sacré. Paris: Grasset. (English translation: Violence and the Sacred. Translated by Patrick Gregory. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977)
— 1996, The Girard Reader. Ed. by James Williams. New York: Crossroads.
— 2002, La question de l’antisémitisme dans les Evangiles, ch. 5, pp. 181-198 in Girard 2002 (original English v., ch. 14, pp. 211-221 in Girard 1996)
— 2002, La Voix méconnue du réel. Paris: Grasset.
Tate, Ryan (2009) http://gawker.com/5159202/save-the-bankers
D’origine religieuse, l’expression bouc émissaire désigne en langage courant la personne qui est désignée par un groupe comme devant endosser un comportement social que ce groupe souhaite évacuer. Cette personne est alors exclue du groupe, au sens propre ou figuré, parfois punie, ou condamnée.
La personne choisie ne l’est pas forcément pour avoir partagé ce comportement, elle peut être une victime expiatoire choisie pour d’autres raisons du fonctionnement du groupe.
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.
Since this goat, carrying the sins of the people placed on it, is sent away to perish , the word “scapegoat” has come to mean a person, often innocent, who is blamed and punished for the sins, crimes, or sufferings of others, generally as a way of distracting attention from the real causes.
Girard’s socio-religious theory
The Christian anthropologist 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 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. 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.
René Girard (born December 25, 1923, Avignon, France) is a French historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science. His work belongs to the tradition of anthropological philosophy. He is the author of several books (see below), in which he developed the following ideas:
- mimetic desire: imitation is an aspect of behaviour that not only affects learning but also desire, and imitated desire is a cause of conflict,
- the scapegoat mechanism is the origin of sacrifice and the foundation of human culture, and religion was necessary in human evolution to control the violence that can come from mimetic rivalry,
- the Bible reveals the two previous ideas and denounces the scapegoat mechanism.
René Girard’s writings cover many areas. Although the reception of his work is different in each of these areas, there is a growing body of secondary literature that uses his hypotheses and ideas in the areas of literary criticism, critical theory, anthropology, theology, psychology, mythology, sociology, economics (1), cultural studies, and philosophy.
(1) MY NOTE. On René and Political Economy:
Aglietta, Michel & Orléan, André: La violence de la monnaie. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France (PUF), 1982.
Arcangeli, Enzo F. (2009),
 Interviews, articles and lectures by René Girard
In chronological order.
- René Girard: “Are the Gospels Mythical?” in First Things: A Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life, April 1996. See also “August/September Letters” in First Things: A Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life, August/September 1996, for follow-up correspondence. Accessed 24 November 2008
- Girard lecture, on Violence, Victims and Christianity (Oxford 1997) Accessed 24 November 2008
- “What Is Occurring Today Is a Mimetic Rivalry on a Planetary Scale” Interview by Henri Tincq, Le Monde, November 6, 2001. Translated by Jim Williams. Original title: “Ce qui se joue aujourd’hui est une rivalité mimétique à l’échelle planétaire“.
- “Violence & the Lamb Slain”. Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, December 2003. A short, accessible introduction to Girardian thought, plus an interview with Girard. Accessed 24 November 2008
- Ratzinger Is Right in New Perspectives Quarterly (NPQ) Volume 22, Number 3 (Summer 2005). On Pope Benedict XVI and relativism. Accessed 24 November 2008
- Interviews with Girard on mimetic desire (Saturday, September 17, 2005) and on ritual, myth, and religion (Tuesday, October 4, 2005) by Robert P. Harrison. Accessed 24 November 2008
- “The J’Accuse of Rene Girard: The Audacious ideas of a great thinker” Interview with Girard by Giulio Meotti, Il Foglio, March 20, 2007. (Translation by Francis R. Hittinger IV.) Accessed 24 November 2008
- (French) Reception speech of René Girard. This speech does not discuss his own work but is a eulogy of his predecessor. Accessed 24 November 2008
- Robert Doran: Apocalyptic Thinking after 9/11: An Interview with René Girard SubStance 115 (Volume 37, Number 1, 2008. Accessed 24 November 2008
- (French) Centre Pompidou: Traces du sacré: René Girard, le sens de l’histoire}}. Excerpts from a conversation with Benoît Chantre (see La conversion de l’art). Accessed 24 November 2008
 Organizations inspired by mimetic theory
 Other resources
- Dietmar Regensburger: Link Collection on René Girard & the Mimetic Theory. Accessed 25 November 2008
- Colloquium on Violence and Religion, Annual Conference 2004: Nature, Human Nature, and the Mimetic Theory. Some of the conference papers are available here. Accessed 24 November 2008
- Paul Nuechterlein: Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary: Understanding the Bible Anew Through the Mimetic Theory of René Girard Accessed 24 November 2008
- Philippe Cottet: On René Girard. Available in French and English. Accessed 24 November 2008
- Mark Gordon: Was Christ Just Another ‘Scapegoat’? May 3, 2006. Accessed 24 November 2008
- Thomas A. Michael: How To Scapegoat the Leader. A Refresher Course (for those who do not need it). An introduction to Girard. Accessed 24 November 2008
- Joseph Bottum: “Girard among the Girardians” in First Things: A Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life, March 1996. A review of Violence Unveiled by Gil Bailie, The Sacred Game by Cesareo Bandera, The Gospel and the Sacred by Robert G. Hamerton-Kelly, and The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred by James G. Williams. Accessed 24 November 2008
- Paolo Diego Bubbio: “Mimetic Theory and Hermeneutics” in Colloquy 9 (2005). Accessed 24 November 2008
- University of St Andrews, UK: Honorary degrees – June 2008. Accessed 26 November 2008
- Gerald J. Biesecker-Mast: “Reading Walter Wink’s and Rene Girard’s Religious Critiques of Violence as Communication Ethics.” National Communication Assocation Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, November 20-23, 1997. A short and clear explanation of the thought of Girard (principally) among other similar thoughts about people, violence and society.
- “Scapegoats and Sacrifices: Rene Girard“. Australian Broadcasting Commission – Philosopher’s Zone. Accessed 24 November 2008
- Trevor Merrill: “On War: Apocalypse and Conversion: Review Article on René Girard‘s Achever Clausewitz and Jean-Michel Oughourlian‘s Genèse du désir” in Lingua Romana: a journal of French, Italian and Romanian culture Volume 6, number 1 / fall 2007. Accessed 24 November 2008
- The website Preaching Peace contains a number of articles related to René Girard, for example: