The American Sociologist

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 382–389 | Cite as

The Blame Game

Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Blame Causality Credit Politics Responsibility 

References

  1. Breitweiser, K. (2006). Wake-up call. The political education of a 9/11 widow (p. 67). New York: Warner Books.Google Scholar
  2. DeMott, B. (2004). Whitewash as public service. How the 9/11 commission report defrauds the nation. Harper’s, online edition, www.harpers.org/WhitewashAsPublicService.html, viewed 5 November 2005, 2.
  3. Kean, T. H., & Hamilton, L. H. (2006). Without precedent. The inside story of the 9/11 commission (pp. 5–6), with Benjamin Rhodes, 12. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  4. Rutenberg, J. & Sanger, D. E. (2006). The struggle for Iraq: Bush aides seek alternatives to Iraq Study Group’s proposals, calling them impractical. New York Times, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CEFDD1431F933A25751C1A9609C8B63&sec=&spon=&&scp=2, viewed 10 December 2006.
  5. Tilly, C. (2006). Why? Princeton University Press. Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar
  6. Tilly, C. (2008). Credit and blame. Princeton University Press. Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations