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Blamestorming, blamemongers and scapegoatsAllocating blame in the criminal justice process$
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Gavin Dingwall and Tim Hillier

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447305002

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447305002.001.0001

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Introduction and the centrality of blame

Introduction and the centrality of blame

(p.1) One Introduction and the centrality of blame
Blamestorming, blamemongers and scapegoats

Gavin Dingwall

Tim Hillier

Policy Press

This chapter expands on the terms and concepts adopted in the title, considering ‘blamestorming’, ‘blamemongers’ and ‘scapegoats’ in turn. Through the use of contemporary and historical examples, we document how society seems more ready to hold individuals to account for their, and sometimes others’, actions. We start the chapter by detailing the tragic facts surrounding the death of a 22-year-old man. Justice seemingly demanded the punishment of his mother, but a causal analysis shows that her actions were but part of a factually and morally complicated story. Even if one could agree on how factual blame could be apportioned in such a case, determining the extent to which she should be deemed blameworthy is highly problematic. That blame plays a vital role in the criminal justice system, that blame is inherently complex, and that society is prepared to find blame more easily than in the past are themes that emerge at the start of the study and ones to which we return throughout.

Keywords:   blame, blamestorming, blamemongers, scapegoats, justice, causation

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