Title

The cultural pragmatics of political apology

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

12-2016

Abstract

In recent decades, research on ‘political apology’, wherein the state apologizes to victims of its past wrongs, has multiplied, as redress movements based on human rights have proliferated around the world. Since most of this research has been conducted by political philosophers, however, analyses of political apologies tend to adopt formal and normative perspectives. To propose an alternative, empirically-grounded approach, in this paper, I develop the ‘cultural pragmatics’ of political apology. To this end, I first conceptualize political apology as a social performance aimed to ‘re-fuse’ an impaired relationship between the perpetrator state and the victim individual. This conceptual move enables systematic analysis of political apology in terms of six elements constitutive of social performance: collective representations, actors, audience, means of symbolic production, mise-en-scène, and power. To elaborate this model of the cultural pragmatics of political apology, I then examine the protracted dispute over wartime atrocities that Japan committed against South Korea.

Keywords

cultural pragmatics, performance, Alexander, East Asia, Japan, Korea, comfort women, historical injustice, international relations, apology, political apology

Discipline

Asian Studies | Politics and Social Change | Sociology | Sociology of Culture

Research Areas

Sociology

Publication

Cultural Sociology

Volume

10

Issue

4

First Page

448

Last Page

465

ISSN

1749-9755

Identifier

10.1177/1749975515590243

Publisher

SAGE

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1177/1749975515590243