A cultural history of the victim relation, as it appears in the selected theoretical treatments traversed here, provides strong support for its imbrication in sacrifi cial processes. As mentioned in the Introduction, the etymology of ‘victim’ is highly suggestive of this originary connection with sacrifi cethe victim is he, she or that which is off ered, killed, devoured, given over in what is fundamentally a teleological gesture. The aim of the sacrifi cial act, albeit unconscious, may be argued to have social implications. As we have seen, for Girard the sacrifi cial violence unleashed upon a victim by the social group in early human societies created a calm; it pacifi ed the destructive violence resulting from mimetic desire between members of the social group that, he claims, will inevitably run riot through a wild and unstoppable contagion if not confronted with some mechanism of release and catharsis. This use of the violence of sacrifi ce to control violence marks the beginning of the sacred in Girard’s analysis, as the sacrifi cial victim is sacralized for its pacifying powers and the act of sacrifi ce subsequently ritualized. Not incompatible with this interpretation, post-Durkheimian theorists point to the social bond that they claim is created and reiterated through carnivalesque festivals in which sacrifi cial rituals feature for their ability to intensify the social experience of commonality in a state of heightened emotion and libidinal release. Sacrifi ce is integral to religion and integral to the formation of the social (which, from the Durkheimian perspective, are one and the same).