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scapegoat theory

Definition of Scapegoat Theory

(nounTheory asserting that a dominant group will target a subordinate group with its unfocused aggression.

Example of Scapegoat Theory

Scapegoat Theory Pronunciation

  • IPA Pronunciation
    • American English
      • /ˈskeɪpɡəʊt ˈθiəri/
      • /ˈskeɪpɡəʊt ˈθɪri/
    • British English
      • /ˈskeɪpɡəʊt ˈθɪəri/
  • Syllabification: (scape·goat the·o·ry)

Usage Notes

  • Plural: scapegoat theories
  • A type of theory.
  • The process described in scapegoat theory is (noun) scapegoatism and is achieved through (verb) scapegoating.

Additional Information

Related Terms


Works Consulted

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Cite the Definition of Scapegoat Theory

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “scapegoat theory.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved September 21, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/scapegoat-theory/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

scapegoat theory. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/scapegoat-theory/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “scapegoat theory.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed September 21, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/scapegoat-theory/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“scapegoat theory.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 21 Sep. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/scapegoat-theory/>.