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Public Apology between Ritual and Regret. Symbolic Excuses on False Pretenses or True Reconciliation out of Sincere Regret?

Symbolic Excuses on False Pretenses or True Reconciliation out of Sincere Regret?

Daniël Cuypers (ed.), Daniel Janssen (ed.), Jacques Haers (ed.) and Barbara Segaert (ed.)
ISBN 978 90 420 3695 6

Editions Rodopi B.V., Amsterdam/New York, NY, July 2013
267 pages

Price: € 56,00

Order at Editions Rodopi 

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Since the 1990s we witness a rise in public apologies. Are we living in the ‘Age of Apology’? Interesting research questions can be raised about the opportunity, the form, the meaning, the effectiveness and the ethical implications of public apologies. Are they not merely a clever and easy device to escape real and tangible responsibility for mistakes or wrong done? Are they not at risk to become well-rehearsed rituals that claim to express regret but, in fact, avoid doing so?

In a joint interdisciplinary effort, the contributors to this book, combining findings from their specific fields of research (legal, religious, political, linguistic, marketing and communication studies), attempt to articulate this tension between ritual and sincere regret, between the discourse and the content of apologies, between excuses that pretend and regret that seeks reconciliation.

This publication is the result op the international workshop The Ritual of Public Apology, which took place in March 2012.
The editors

  • Daniël Cuypers: Professor of Labour Law and Discrimination Law at the University of Antwerp
  • Daniel Janssen: Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands and international guest Professor at the University of Antwerp in Belgium
  • Jacques Haers: Academic Director University Centre Saint Ignatius Antwerpen and Professor of Systematic Theology at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven
  • Barbara Segaert: Scientific Coordinator, University Centre Saint Ignatius Antwerpen 

Table of Contents

Introduction: When Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word: An Apology with a Legal Disclaimer - Daniël Cuypers

Regret and Sincerity
An Overview of Challenges Facing Collective Apologies - Nick Smith
Apology and the Possibility of the Ethical Nation - Danielle Celermajer
A Time to Heal: Pope John Paul II’s Penitential Gesture at Jerusalem’s Western Wall - Raymond Cohen
An Attempt to Heal Rifts in Medicine: Collective Apology and the American Medical Association’s Attempts at Reconciliation with the African-American Community - Benjamin R. Bates and Jason A. Edwards
Public Apologies in the Western Balkans: The Shadow of Ambiguity - Davide Denti
The Ritual of Apology and Restorative Justice: Exploring the Victim’s Perspective - Daniela Bolivar, Ivo Aertsen and Inge Vanfraechem

Ritual and Discourse
The Discourse of Public Apologies: Modes of Realization, Interpretation and Mediation - Zohar Kampf
Post-Transitional Apology: Expressing Contrition Whilst Addressing the Holocaust Transitional Justice’s Failure - Alexandra Herfroy-Mischler
From Apology to Excuse: Abuse Cases within the Catholic Church as Public and Scientific Objects of Research - Willemine Willems
The Regretful Acknowledgement: A Dignified End to a Disgraceful Story? - Lisa S. Villadsen
An Overview of Challenges Facing Collective Apologies: Their Use in the Corporate World - W. Timothy Coombs
Apologies in Written Messages: What Are the Effects? - Daniel Janssen

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