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

Zohar Kampf*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

3 Scopus citations


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 publicationAt the Interface
Subtitle of host publicationProbing the Boundaries
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NameAt the Interface: Probing the Boundaries
ISSN (Print)1570-7113

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Brill. All rights reserved.


  • avoidance dilemma
  • discourse analysis
  • mediation
  • public record
  • speech acts


Dive into the research topics of 'The Discourse of Public Apologies: Modes of Realization, Interpretation and Mediation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this