We Need A Scapegoat

As the economic recession settles upon the global economy we can expect an increase in criminal behavior.  There should be an increase in theft and an increase in domestic abuse (See http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive//crimwage.htm and  http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/208346.pdf).  This correlation has been known for some time, but does not seem to be getting any fresh attention as the economy worsens.

I am not troubled by the correlation in itself, but what new directions it may take given the rise of ethnic identification and violence in the world of today.  The desire for economic gain combined with stress materializes differently depending on the type of relationship assumed to be initiated by the perpetrator.  I will mention two that seem relevant.  The first relationship can be classified as an economic one, and the second can be classified as familiar.  The first relation is only to achieve money and often leads to the victim being uninjured, only poorer.  The second relation most often leads to violence and oppression.  I am more worried about the possible rise of the familiar relationship out of the private and into the public through the open windows of ethnic or national relations.

The image of the family is a common script for the nation and ethnic groups.  Blood lines are viewed as the ties that bind, and common physical characteristics, mannerisms, and grand narratives are imagined to be shared in common.  Domestic violence can be seen as an attempt to control the family to ‘protect’ it from ‘foreign’ interference or ‘foreign’ values.  The family must be controlled and order must be maintained.  When this relation is transcribed onto the nation or ethnic group stress induces a desire, or drives a need, to ‘protect’ the national identity and maintain order against the influence of the Other.

Those most affected by the coming economic recession will feel a desire to protect the nation from the Other.  However, an Other labeled by such individuals looking to control the national family will not be determined according to a rational calculation of national security.  It will be determined by those most under stress from the economic recession according to a criteria consisting of a combination of physical characteristics, mannerisms, and grand narratives.  The Other will be those that violate this criteria when compared to the prototypical national.  The classification scheme is not a clear hierarchy, but this is not the place to discuss, suffices to say Fire, Women and Dangerous Things can all be put under one category.

Something like this: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/14/nyregion/14immigrant.html will be happening more frequently.


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