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date: 05 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter advances three claims. First, it argues that the concepts of accountability and blame-avoidance have much in common and can be understood as mirror-image concepts for the “sanction-imposing” sense of accountability and the sense of blame avoidance that denotes outcome rather than activity. Second, it argues that there are different ways of conceiving and defining both concepts in their respective analytic literatures, and the mirror-image relationship tends to disappear once we move to those alternatives, particularly of accountability conceived as answerability and blame-avoidance conceived as activity rather than outcome. Third, it argues that cultural theory analysis can identify variants of both accountability and blame-avoidance which can deepen understanding of both the mirror-image aspects of the two phenomena and of relationships between them that go beyond a mirror-image.

Keywords: blame, blame-avoidance, blame game, accountability, cultural theory

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