Ostracism  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Ostracism (ὀστρακισμός, ostrakismos) was a procedure under the Athenian democracy in which any citizen could be expelled from the city-state of Athens for ten years. While some instances clearly expressed popular anger at the citizen, ostracism was often used preemptively. It was used as a way of neutralizing someone thought to be a threat to the state or potential tyrant.

Crucially, ostracism had no relation to the processes of justice. There was no charge or defense, and the exile was not in fact a penalty; it was simply a command from the Athenian people that one of their number be gone for ten years.

A modern use developed from the term is to describe informal exclusion from a group through social rejection. Although the psychology of ostracism takes this further, where it has been defined as “...any behaviour in which a group or individual excludes and ignores another group or individual”. This could therefore be an intentional act or an unintentional one.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ostracism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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