What is a scapegoat in psychology?

Psychological scapegoating refers to the tendency to blame someone else for one’s own problems, a process that often results in feelings of prejudice toward the person or group that one is blaming. Scapegoating serves as an opportunity to explain failure or misdeeds, while maintaining one’s positive self-image.

In mimetic theory, scapegoating runs deeper than psychology. It is bound up with metaphysical desire. Groups scapegoat a person or another group because they are in a mimetic crisis and need to find an outlet valve for the escalating, reciprocal mimetic desires that threaten to make them implode. It is no mere psychological phenomenon. Someone actually died, or is mutilated, or has their reputation ruined. The modern-day Cancel Culture is the latest manifestation of this.