Part 6: Scapegoat

This post is the final one in a series of six posts exploring our editorial theme “Scapes” through the lenses of various disciplines (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5). This post was written by Susann Ludwig.

“The mind comes to know things by comparison” one effect being “that knowledge derived from acts of comparison acquires characteristics of its own” (Strathern 2020, 29). For instance, without having a distinct idea of what a “woman” is, we gain a pretty clear idea of what a “sister” is when we compare two women “in reference to one common parent“ (ibid, 30). Thus, “to have a clear conception of that which is the foundation of the relation… may be done without having a perfect and clear idea of the thing it is attributed to” (Locke in Strathern 2020, 30).



combining form

a view or scene of

•   landscape

•   seascape

•   moonscape

⟶ Landscape “everything you can see when you look across a large area of land”

Word origin “late 16th cent. (denoting a picture of scenery): from Middle Dutch lantscap, from land ‘land’ + scap (equivalent of -ship)”

⟶ Seascape “a picture or view of the sea”

Compare townscape “what you see when you look at a town, for example from a distance”

⟶ Moonscape

1 “a view of the surface of the moon”

2 “an area of land that is empty, with no trees, water, etc., and looks like the surface of the moon”


without knowing exactly what a scape is, I have a pretty clear idea about a landscape, seascape or moonscape. Here, scape is the foundation of the relation between land, sea and moon. Scape is vision (see also Cosgrove 2008), a picture, a view, an area. Scape is perspective.




 “to get away from a place where you have been kept as a prisoner or not allowed to leave”

“a way of forgetting something unpleasant or difficult for a short time”

“the fact of a liquid, gas, etc. coming out of a pipe or container by accident; the amount that comes out”

(also escape key [countable]) “(computing) a button on a computer keyboard that you press to stop a particular operation or leave a program”

Escape Word Origin: Middle English: from Old French eschaper, based on medieval Latin ex- ‘out’ + cappa ‘cloak’. Compare with escapade.


A scape is perspective. Escape is a way out.




“an exciting adventure (often one that people think is dangerous or stupid)”



“a person who is blamed for something bad that somebody else has done or for some failure”


an escapade is an adventure; a scapegoat offers a way out post-adventure. Perhaps the greatest of all time.


Cosgrove, Denis E. 2008. Geography and Vision: Seeing, Imagining and Representing the World. International Library of Human Geography, v. 12. London ; New York : I.B. Tauris.

Strathern, Marilyn. 2020. Relations: An Anthropological Account. Durham: Duke University Press.

Other posts in this series:

Part 1: Introduction to Scapes

Part 2: Escapes

Part 3: Timescapes

Part 4: Landscapes

Part 5: Scapus

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