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Understanding GenocideThe Social Psychology of the Holocaust$
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Leonard S. Newman and Ralph Erber

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195133622

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195133622.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 15 April 2021

Sacrificial Lambs Dressed in Wolves’ Clothing

Sacrificial Lambs Dressed in Wolves’ Clothing

Envious Prejudice, Ideology, and the Scapegoating of Jews

(p.112) (p.113) 5 Sacrificial Lambs Dressed in Wolves’ Clothing
Understanding Genocide

Peter Glick

Oxford University Press

Why did the Nazis desire to exterminate a whole people? Why, in particular, were the Jews chosen as the primary targets of genocide? Why did the perpetrators persist and even accelerate their efforts when the war against the Allies was clearly about to be lost? The social-psychological concept most often invoked to answer these questions is scapegoating — the venting of frustrations on an innocent but weak target — a notion that has become part of popular “folk psychology”. Scapegoat theory, however, is not well integrated into contemporary social psychology, since its foundations are firmly set in late nineteenth-century views of human irrationality, steeped in the metaphor of the steam engine and focused on the role of “primitive” drives and repressed emotions. This chapter reexamines the scapegoat concept and presents an alternative, ideological model of scapegoating which aims to correct scapegoat theory's deficiencies more generally and to provide a greater understanding of the Holocaust more particularly. The proposed model argues that an ideology of envious prejudice is a crucial mediator of scapegoating.

Keywords:   Holocaust, genocide, Nazis, Jews, perpetrators, scapegoating, social psychology, prejudice, ideology

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