The American Sociologist

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 382-389

First online:

The Blame Game

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We constantly assess and attribute blame in daily life and more momentously, in public politics. Blame is based on a simple cause-and-effect logic that reasons backwards from outcomes and their consequences to agents and their responsibility. Public debates over the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington and over the Iraq war illustrate the processes of assigning and deflecting blame, and the varied logics actors appeal to in these processes.


Blame Causality Credit Politics Responsibility