The pragmatics of political apologies

HARRIS, S., GRAINGER, Karen and MULLANY, L. (2006). The pragmatics of political apologies. Discourse and society, 17 (6), 715-737.

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Despite the wealth of literature generated over the past two decades on the apology as a speech act, the political apology has been relatively neglected as a research topic. This article aims to examine the pragmatics of such apologies as a generic type of discourse by identifying their salient characteristics: they are in the public domain and highly mediated; they are generated by (and generate) conflict and controversy; on the basis of media and viewer evaluations/judgements, they need to contain both an illocutionary force indicating device (Ifid) and an explicit expression of the acceptance of responsibility/blame for the ‘offence’ in order to be clearly perceived as valid apologies; and they rarely, if ever, involve an expression of absolution. Drawing primarily on data concerning recent political events in the UK (especially the Iraq War), the article attempts to set out and illustrate the different types of political apology. The resulting analysis is related both to previous and current apology research and to recent developments in politeness theory.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright © 2006 SAGE Publications
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Communication and Computing Research Centre
Identification Number:
Page Range: 715-737
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2008
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 21:45

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