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Type: Journal article
Title: Apologizing for historical injustice: Emotion, truth and identity in political discourse
Author: Augoustinos, M.
Hastie, B.
Wright, M.
Citation: Discourse and Society: an international journal for the study of discourse and communication in their social, political and cultural contexts, 2011; 22(5):507-531
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 0957-9265
Statement of
Martha Augoustinos, Brianne Hastie and Monique Wright
Abstract: The recent apology by the Australian Prime Minister to Indigenous Australians demonstrates the increasing willingness of nation states to apologize for historical injustices. In this critical discursive analysis of Rudd’s apology, we analyse the pragmatic and linguistic features of the apology in light of recent research on political apologies as a generic type of discourse. We demonstrate how the act of offering and justifying an apology was accomplished through the use of emotion and identity categories. In particular, we examine how the reason—emotion dilemma was managed rhetorically by tying emotion to facts, and how differing levels of categorization can all be used to evoke support for apologizing for historical injustice. In contrast to social-psychological experimental work on apologies and forgiveness, we show that different levels of categorization — the personal, intermediate and superordinate — can all be used flexibly in discourse to invoke empathy and identification with the 'other', and that rather than invoking emotions in the ingroup, humanizing the 'other' is a powerful strategy for eliciting support for redressing social injustice.
Keywords: apologies
discourse analysis
political discourse
Rights: © The Author(s) 2011
DOI: 10.1177/0957926511405573
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Psychology publications

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