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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


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.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationPublic Apology Between Ritual and Regret
Subtitle of host publicationSymbolic Excuses on False Pretenses or True Reconciliation Out of Sincere Regret
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherEditions Rodopi B.V.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9789401209533
ISBN (Print)9789042036956
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013

Publication series

NameAt the Interface / Probing the Boundaries


  • Apologizing
  • Mediation
  • Conflict management
  • Realization (Linguistics)
  • Politicians
  • avoidance dilemma
  • discourse analysis
  • mediation
  • public record
  • speech acts


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