The age of apology: Evidence from the Israeli public discourse

Zohar Kampf*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This article focuses on corroborating the impressionist claim that contemporary global society is living in the age of apology. I highlight several processes that facilitate the emergence and extension of the practice of apologizing and argue that Israel, as a player in this apology game, has been fertile soil for the growing global practice. Examination of apology discourse in Israel between 1948 and 2004 indicates that the practice of apology was significantly integrated into the local public arena in 1997 following the Labor Party's apology toward the Mizrahim. The importing of the global practice into the local arena led to an expansion of the phenomenon in other fields of discourse. The adoption of the practice has turned the public apology into a common rhetorical genre in Israel, utilized by public figures and organizations as a means of image restoration and as a legitimate tool for managing social relationships. Lastly, in agreement with the rhetoricist position for language and globalization, the age of apology can be understood as a type of discourse of globalization that widens the repertoire of rhetorical resources available for contemporary public figures.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)257-273
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Semiotics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Apology
  • Globalization
  • Israel
  • Public discourse
  • Rhetorical genre


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