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Title Kenneth Burke and the scapegoat process / by C. Allen Carter.
Imprint Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, 1996.

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Description 1 online resource (xxi, 169 pages).
Series Oklahoma project for discourse and theory ; v. 17
Oklahoma project for discourse and theory ; v. 17.
Bibliog. Includes bibliographical references (pages 155-163) and index.
Note Available only to authorized UTEP users.
Print version record.
Subject Burke, Kenneth, 1897-1993 -- Knowledge -- Literature.
Burke, Kenneth, 1897-1993.
Burke, Kenneth.
Literature -- History and criticism -- Theory, etc.
Criticism -- United States.
Victims in literature.
United States.
Genre Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Summary The writings of twentieth-century thinker Kenneth Burke span seven decades and extend into multiple disciplines. What makes Burke's work so far-reaching in its influence also makes it difficult to define or categorize. This study by C. Allen Carter examines one particular issue of recurring concern for Burke: the tendency of human beings to seek out scapegoats or victims. By demonstrating the centrality of this theme in the entire range of works by Burke, Carter offers a valuable approach to understanding the philosophy as a whole.
As Carter explains, scapegoating for Burke is a complex process that is above all language-based. Throughout his career, Burke was preoccupied with the ways recurring patterns in language - most prominently in literature - represent significant patterns of human behavior. And a defining feature of language, Burke argued, is its reliance on moral negatives, or the constant "thou shalt not" commands that govern people's actions and ensure cooperation within a group or society. However, because it is impossible for anybody to abide by all the rules all the time, the result is ubiquitous guilt. Insecure individuals are driven by "hierarchical motives": the urge to raise their own status in the social order by lowering the status of someone else - in other words, to target another individual who will represent the infectious evils from which the group wants to be released. Carter shows how Burke's preoccupation with this universal pattern of human behavior permeated his celebrated analyses of texts, such as the Bible and the Greek tragedies, in which the pattern is clearly exposed.
Other Title Print version: Carter, Chris Allen. Kenneth Burke and the scapegoat process. Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, 1996 0806128240