Scapegoat Ecology: Blame, Exoneration, and an Emergent Genre in Environmentalist Discourse
This essay identifies and examines scapegoat ecology, an emergent genre in online environmental discourse. In scapegoat ecology, a public of environmentally minded individuals focuses attention and vitriol on a single person for being particularly harmful to the environment. This essay argues that such discourse deflects attention from more complex and systemic environmental factors and implicitly exonerates the broader community, assuring it of its own environmental commitments while excusing it from further ecological action. The essay describes the form and appeal of scapegoat ecology, then provides a series of illustrative case examples before highlighting the implications of such discourse for both environmental communication and broader social/political conversations.
scapegoating, rhetoric, discourse, digital media, Yosemite
Schmitt, Casey R., "Scapegoat Ecology: Blame, Exoneration, and an Emergent Genre in Environmentalist Discourse" (2019). Gonzaga Faculty Climate Research Bibliography. 4.