• A Public Apology is a “communicative act located at a critical point in an evolving conflict. It looks simultaneously to a problematic past and a potentially reconciling future” (Zohar Kampf, The Age of Apology: Evidence from the Israeli Public Discourse).
  • A Public Apology is one of the tools which exist inside the toolbox of Transitional Justice measures. As such, it has justice-seeking objectives.
  • A Public Apology is firstly a speech act, with a performer (the wrongdoer or his representative), an addressee (the victim or his representative) and a public (media, national citizens, and even the whole world).
  • A Public Apology conveys a normative message. It “serves to recall and reaffirm allegiance to codes of behaviour and belief whose integrity has been tested and challenged by transgression” (Nicholas Tavuchis, Mea Culpa: a Sociology of Apology and Reconciliation).

2. Public Apologies around the World

Case Studies and recommended bibliography

Apologies Bibliography

Compiled by Zohar Kampf, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.   zohar29@zahav.net.il

Abadi, Adina, 1990. The speech act of apology in political life. Journal of Pragmatics 14 (3), 467–471.

Achter. P. J. (2000) Narrative, intertextuality, and apologia in contemporary political scandals. The Southern Communication Journal, 65 (4): 318-333.

Susan Wise Bauer (2009) The Art of the Public Grovel: Sexual Sin and Public Confession in America. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

* Bavelas, Janet, 2004. An analysis of formal apologies by Canadian churches to first nations. Occasional papers No. 1. Center for studies in religious
and society.  

Benoit, W. L. (1995). Accounts, Excuse and Apologies: A Theory of Image Restoration Strategies. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Benoit, W. L. (1997). Hugh Grant's image restoration discourse: An actor apologizes. Communication Quarterly. 45 (3): 251–267.

* Bergman, L.M. and Kasper, G. (1993). Perception and Performance in Native and Nonnative Apology. In: Kasper, G. and Blum-Kulka, S.(eds.). Interlanguage Pragmatics. (pp. 82-107) Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Blaney, J.R., and Benoit, W.L. (2001). The Clinton scandals and the politics of image restoration. Westport, CT: Praeger.

* Blum-Kulka, S. and Olshtain, E. (1984), Requests and apologies: A cross-cultural study of speech act realization patterns (CCSARP). Applied Linguistics, 5 (3): 196-215.

* Blum-Kulka, S., House, J. and Kasper, G. (Eds.).(1989). Cross-Cultural Pragmatics: Requests and Apologies. New Jersey: Ablex.

Borkin, A and Reinhart, S.M. (1978). Excuse me and I'm Sorry. TESOL Quarterly, 12 (1): 57-69.

Brooks, R. L. (1999). The age of apology. In: R. L. Brooks (Ed.). When Sorry Isn't Enough: The Controversy Over Apologies and Reparation for Human Injustice. (pp. 3-12) New York: New York University Press.

* Cohen, A.D. and Olshtain, E. (1985) Comparing apologies across languages. In: K. R Jankowsky,. Scientific and Humanistic Dimensions of language (pp. 175-184). Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Cohen, R. (2004). Apology and reconciliation in international relations. in Y, Bar-Siman-Tov (ed). From Conflict Resolution to Reconciliation (pp. 177-196). New York: Oxford University Press.

* Coulmas, F. (1981). Poison to your soul: Thanks and apologies contrastively viewed. In: F. Coulmas (Ed.) Conversational Routine. (Pp. 69-92) The Hague: Mouton De Gruyter.

Cunningham, M. (1999). Saying sorry: The politics of apology. Political Quarterly, 70 (3): 285-293.

Derrida, J. (1997). On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness. London and New-York: Routledge.

Digeser, P. E. (2001). Political Forgiveness. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.

* Deutschmann, Mats, 2003. Apologizing in British English. Umea University Press, Umea.

* Edmondson, W. J. (1981). On saying you’re sorry. In: F. Coulmas, (Ed.) Conversational Routine (pp. 273-288). The Hague: Mouton De Gruyter.

Ely, R and Gleason, B. J. (2006) sorry I said that: apologies in young children's discourse. Journal of Child Language. 33 (3): 599-620.

* Fraser, B. (1981). On apologizing. In: F. Coulmas, (Ed.). Conversational Routine.
(Pp. 259-271).The Hague: Mouton De Gruyter.

* Garcia, C. (1989).Apologizing in English: Politeness strategies used by native and non native speakers. Multilingua 8 (1): 3-20.

Goffman, E. (1971). Relations in Public. London: Allen Lane.

Govier, T., and Verwoerd, W. (2002). The promise and pitfalls of apology. Journal of Social Philosophy. 33 (1): 67-82

Gibney, Mark, Howerd-Hassmann, Rhoda, Coicaud, Jean-Mark Sreiner, Niklaus, (Eds.), 2008. The Age of Apology. Pennsylvania University Press, Pennsylvania.

* Harris, Sandra, Grainger, Karen, Mullany, Louise, 2006. The pragmatics of political apologies. Discourse and Society 17 (6), 715–737.

* Grainger, K and Harris, S. (2007). Introduction: special issue on apologies. Journal of Politeness Research.3 (1): 1-10.

Harter M. L., Ronald. S. J. and Japp, P. M. (2000). President Clinton's apology for the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment: a narrative of remembrance, redefinition, and reconciliation. Howard Journal of Communications. 11 (1): 19-34.

Harvey, J. (1995). The emerging practice of institutional apologies.  International Journal of Applied Philosophy. 9 (2): 57-65.

Hearit, K. M. (2006). Crisis Management by Apology. New-Jersey: Lawerance Earlbaum.

*Holmes, J. (1989). Sex differences and apologies: one aspect of communicative competence. Applied Linguistics, 10 (20: 194–213.

* Holmes, J. (1990). Apologies in New Zealand English. Language in Society, 19 (2): 155-199.

* Ide R. (1998).  'Sorry for your kindness': Japanese interactional ritual in public discourse. Journal of Pragmatics. 29 (5): 509-529

* Jaworski, A. (1994) ‘Apologies and Non-apologies: Negotiation in Speech Act Realisation’. Text 14 (2): 185-206.

Joyce, R. (1999) Apologizing.  Public Affairs Quarterly. 13(2): 159-173.

* Kampf, Z. (2008) ‘The Pragmatics of Forgiveness: Judgments of Apologies in the Israeli Political Arena’, Discourse & Society 19 (5): 577-598.

* Kampf, Z., Public (non-) apologies: The discourse of minimizing responsibility. J. Pragmatics (2009), doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2008.11.007

Kampf, Z.  (forthcoming). ‘The Age of Apology: Evidence from the Israeli Public Discourse’. Social Semiotics

Kampf, Z. (forthcoming). Journalists as Actors in Social Dramas of Apology. Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism

* Kampf, Z and Blum-Kulka, S. (2007). Do children apologize to each other? Apology events in young Israeli peer discourse. Journal of Politeness Research.3 (1): 11-38. 

Kiss, E. (1998) Saying we're sorry: Liberal democracy and the rhetoric of   collective identity. Constellations, 4 (3): 387-398.

Kotani, M. (2002). Expressing Gratitude and Indebtedness: Japanese Speakers Use of “ I’m Sorry” in English Conversation. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 35 (1): 39-72.

* Koutsantoni, D. (2007) "I can now apologize to you twice from the bottom of my heart": Apologies in Greek reality TV. Journal of Politeness Research.3 (1): 93-124.

Kramer-Moore, D and Moore, M (2003). Pardon me for breathing: seven types of apology. A Review of General Semantics. 60 (2): 160-170.

* Lakoff, R, B. (2000). The Language War. Berkeley, California: University of California Press.

* Lakoff, R. B. (2001). Nine way of looking at apologies: The necessity for interdisciplinary theory and method in discourse analysis. In: D. Schiffrin  D. Tannen, and H. Hamilton, (Eds.). Handbook of Discourse Analysis (pp. 199-214). London: Blackwell.

* Liebersohn, Y., Neuman, Y., and Bekerman, Z. (2004). Oh baby, it's hard for me to say I'm sorry: Public apologetic speech and cultural rhetorical resources. Journal of Pragmatics. 36 (5): 921-944.

Luke, A. (1997). ‘The Material Effects of the Word: 'Stolen Children' and Public Discourse’.  Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 18(3): 343-368.

* Meier, A.J. (1998) ‘Apologies: What Do We Know?’  International Journal of Applied Linguistics 8 (2): 215-231.

* Meier, A. J. (2004). Conflict and the Power of Apologies. PhiN (Philologie im Netz). 30:  1-17. http://www.fu-berlin.de/phin/phin30/p30t1.htm

* Murata, Kumiko (1998): "Has He Apologized or Not"?: A Cross-Cultural Misunderstanding between the UK and Japan on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of VJ Day in Britain".  Pragmatics 8, 501–513.

* Obeng S.G. (1999). Apologies in Akan discourse.  Journal of Pragmatics. 31 (5): 709-734.

Ohbuchi, K. Agarie, N and Kameda, M. (1989). Apology as aggression control: Its role in mediating appraisal of and response to harm.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56 (2): 219-227

* Olshtain, E. (1983). Sociocultural competence and language transfer: The case of apology.  In: S. M. Gass and L. Selinker (Eds.). Language Transfer in Language Learning. (pp. 232-249)  Rowley, MA : Newbury House.

* Olshtain, E. (1989). Apologies across languages. In: S. Blum-Kulka, J. House, and G. Kasper, (Eds.). Cross-Cultural Pragmatics: Requests and Apologies (pp. 155-173). New Jersey: Ablex.

* Olshtain, E., and Cohen, A.D. (1983). Apology: A speech act set. In: N. Wolfson and E, Jude (Eds.), Sociolinguistics and Language Acquisition, (pp 18-35).  Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

* Owen, M. (1983). Apologies and Remedial Interchanges. New York: Mouton Publisher.

Park, H. S., Lee .E.H. and Song A.J. (2005) "I am sorry to send you SPAM": Cross-cultural differences in use of apologies in email advertising in Korea and the U.S. Human communication research.  31 (3): 365-398.

* Reiter, R. M. (2000).  Linguistic Politeness in Britain and Uruguay. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

* Robinson, J. D. (2004). The sequential Organization of "explicit" apologies in naturally occurred English. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 37 (3): 291-330.

Scher S.J. and Darley J.M. (1997). How effective are the things people say to apologize? Effects of the realization of the apology speech act.  Journal of
Psycholinguistics Research. 26 (1): 127-140.

Schlenker, B. and Darby, B. W. (1981). The Use of apologies in social predicaments. Social Psychology Quarterly. 44 (3): 271-278.

Sugimoto, N.(1997). A Japan-U.S. comparison of apology styles. Communication Research, 24 (4): 349-369

* Suszczynska, M. (1999). Apologizing in English, Polish and Hungarian: different languages, different strategies. Journal of Pragmatics 31 (8): 1053–1065.

Taft L.  (2000). Apology subverted: The comodification of apology.  Yale Law Journal. 109 (5): 1135-1160.

Takaku S. (2001). The effects of apology and perspective taking on interpersonal forgiveness: A dissonance-attribution model of interpersonal forgiveness.  Journal of Social Psychology 141 (4): 494-508.

Takaku, S., Weiner, B., and Ohbuchi, K. I (2001) A crosscultural examination of the effect of apology and perspective taking on forgiveness. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 20 (1-2): 144-166.

Tavuchis, N. (1991). Mea Culpa: A Sociology of Apology and Reconciliation.     
Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

* Trosborg, A. (1987). Apology Strategies in Natives/Non-Natives. Journal-of-Pragmatics, 11, 2, 147-167.

* Trosborg, A. (1995). Interlanguage pragmatics: Requests, Complains, Apologies (Studies in Anthropological linguistics 7). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Torpey, J. (2003). The entrepreneurs of memory. OpenDemocracy.

Warner, M. (2002). Sorry: the present state of apology. OpenDemocracy.

Zhang, J. and Benoit, W.  (2004). Message strategies of Saudi Arabia’s image restoration campaign in the U.S. after September 11.  Public Relations Review, 30(2): 162-167.