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200 × 120 mm
160 pages
16 Feb 2015

The Blame Business The Uses and Misuses of Accountability Stephen Fineman

Blame infuses society in myriad ways. At its worst it sours and destabilizes relationships, dividing lovers, co-workers, communities and nations. In the hands of skilled propagandists blame is a potent tool for persecution; in the hands of the media it is a vehicle for creating social unease. Yet blame also safeguards moral order and legal culpability. Blame is thus both destructive and necessary.

The Blame Business takes us on a fascinating journey through the landscape of blame, from ancient witch-hunts to today’s scapegoating and stigmatization, and from righteous anger to blame cultures. Stephen Fineman delves behind the scenes of public and private organizations infected with blame and profiles the people who try to hold them to account, examing the vexed issue of public accountability as politicians and corporate leaders play their ‘blame games’.

What are the limits of remorse and forgiveness? Is restorative justice the answer? This absorbing book deepens our understanding of blame and how it shapes all of our lives.

The Blame Business unsettles the reader with a number of very disconcerting questions and comes up with some even more disturbing answers. Ours has become a society that thirsts for blame, breathes blame and is blinded by blame. It is little wonder that it has turned blame into a flourishing business. But at what cost? This is a book that makes us look at blame with fresh eyes.’ – Professor Yiannis Gabriel, School of Management, University of Bath

‘Readers will come to understand blame more profoundly; gaining deeper and richer insights about what it means to individuals to blame and to be blamed.’ – Professor Cynthia Hardy, University of Melbourne, Australia

‘Blaming the other makes us feel good. It absolves us from responsibility. How much are we really in control? asks Fineman in this erudite and thoughtful book. To prevent Salem-type witch-hunts and their modern equivalents, we need institutions and culture to hard-wire just ways of apologising, learning and restoring. A big task, beautifully outlined here.’ – Professor Tim Lang, City University London

The Blame Business is a must read. It brings fresh insights into complex issues.’ – Suzanne Derok, author of Rejuvency BodyHealth and Director Executive Talent Consulting

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Stephen Fineman is Professor Emeritus at the School of Management, University of Bath, and also the author of Organizing Age (2011) and Work: A Very Short Introduction (2012).