The Discourse of Public Apologies: Modes of Realization, Interpretation and Mediation

in Public Apology between Ritual and Regret

In this chapter I look at three facets of the discourse of public apologies, namely their modes of realization, interpretation and mediation. First, I show how face considerations in the public arena compel politicians to realize creative forms of apologies in order to minimize their responsibility for misdeeds. Second, I point to patterns of interpretation of public apologies by politicians and audiences. Whereas the public seeks indicators of sincerity in apologetic statements, politicians tend to lay their judgment on various interests - political, economic, and symbolic - that do not necessarily coincide with the linguistic performance of the apology. Third, I demonstrate the active involvement of journalists in constructing social dramas of apology. In conclusion, I argue that, paradoxically, the public context in which apologies are made, renders them liable to be suspected of insincerity while at the same time, enables them to achieve their ends.

Public Apology between Ritual and Regret

Symbolic Excuses on False Pretenses or True Reconciliation out of Sincere Regret?

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