FREE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY - Dissertations, online materials

Pages:   || 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |

«Abstract This article argues that institutional apologies are rituals that can be conceived from a neo-Durkheimian viewpoint as external social tools ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

Official or political apologies and

improvement of intergroup relations: A neo-

Durkheimian approach to official apologies

as rituals


University of the Basque Country, Spain


This article argues that institutional apologies are rituals that can be conceived from a neo-Durkheimian viewpoint

as external social tools of collective emotion, which allow people to assume collective guilt and shame, increase agreement

with reparatory behaviors, and reinforce social cohesion. The review of studies presented in this monograph shows that an apology reactivates and intensifies collective emotions, mainly of shame and guilt, above and beyond merely reminding people of past misdeeds, and increases support for reparation. Shame and sorrow fuel and support reparative tendencies.

Finally, salience of past collective violence together with an apology improves social climate to some extent, enhances intergroup reconciliation by decreasing prejudice and improving intergroup contact, and helps to reconstruct in-group collective memory in a more critical way. Changes in collective emotions and representations of the past mediate the positive effects of apologies on reparation and social cohesion.

Keywords: Public apologies, forgiveness, intergroup relations, rituals, Durkheim.

Peticiones de perdón públicas o disculpas

políticas y mejora de relaciones intergrupo:

un marco de análisis neo-Durkheimiano a las disculpas oficiales en tanto rituales Resumen Este articulo argumenta que las disculpas o peticiones de perdón institucionales son rituales que se pueden conceptuali- zar desde un marco teórico neo-durkheimiano como instrumentos sociales externos de emociones colectivas, que le sirven de andamiaje o infraestructura a las personas para asumir la vergüenza y culpa colectiva, incrementan el acuerdo con con- ductas de reparación y refuerzan la cohesión social. La revisión de los estudios de este monográfico muestran que las dis- culpas institucionales reactivan e intensifican las emociones colectivas, principalmente de vergüenza y culpa, teniendo un efecto superior al recuerdo simple de los errores del pasado, y ayudan además a apoyar medidas de reparación. La vergüen- za y culpa motivan y sirven de apoyo a las tendencias a la reparación. Finalmente, hace saliente o recordar las violencias colectivas pasadas, junto con las disculpas institucionales, mejoran en cierto grado el clima social y refuerzan la reconci- liación intergrupal, disminuyendo el prejuicio y mejorando el contacto inter grupo, y ayudan a reconstruir de manera más autocrítica la memoria colectiva del endo grupo. Los cambios en las emociones colectivas y las representaciones del pasado median y explican los efectos positivos de las disculpas públicas en la cohesión social y las tendencias de reparación.

Palabras clave: Disculpas publicas, perdón, relaciones intergrupo, rituales, Durkheim.

Author’s Address: Department of Social Psychology and Methodology, University of the Basque Country, Av. de Tolosa, 70, 20018 San Sebastian, Spain. E-mail: dario.paez@ehu.es.

© 2010 by Fundación Infancia y Aprendizaje, ISSN: 0213-4748 Revista de Psicología Social, 2010, 25 (1), 101-115 102 Revista de Psicología Social, 2010, 25 (1), pp. 101-115 With the aim of reinforcing peace processes and reconciliation, coping with negative collective past events and constructing an integrative collective memory, it is important to understand how apology can function at an intergroup level. Thus, the main objective of this paper is to study the apology process at such a level. Official or intergroup apology goes beyond the recognition of responsibility and the adhesion to moral norms as individual phenomena. Morality, responsibility, guilt and shame become collective in character. We will try to analyze these collective processes.

Apology as self-critical remembering as opposed to dominant positivistic collective memory Recently, nations and institutions, reversing the classical self-enhancement tendency to “never apologize, never explain”, have offered many official apologies (Marrus, 2006). However “never apologize, never explain” is a preferred response when confronting an ugly past, at least among the dominant elites. Examples are numerous;

for instance, the Russians refuse to acknowledge and apologize for the Katyn massacre and Red Army crimes of war, etc. (Baumesteir & Hastings, 1997; Nytagodien & Neal, 2004). Following Lind (2008), States and nations usually glorify past collective violence: they might admit that violent acts occurred in the past, but at the same time they might actually praise them as a just and necessary war, a cause for pride, like the US and British admission of casualties and lack of apology for the atrocities of bombings in Germany and Japan. They may also justify acts of collective violence, accepting that atrocities occurred but were necessary in the context – even if not glorious, as in the case of Japanese minimization of the brutality of the Imperial Army.

Moreover, States and nations may deny that collective violence took place or that the State committed crimes, as in the case of the Turkish denial of the Armenian Genocide.

They may also not deny but simply “forget” the past, with history books glossing over past crimes and commemorating neither victims nor perpetrators, as in the case of the French “amnesia” of massacres and tortures in Vietnam and Algeria. Admission of past

collective violence may also be a cold neutral acknowledgement with no moral judgment:

an example of neutral accounts are historical textbooks describing the atomic bombing of Japan and presenting a balanced vision of justification (bombing was necessary to end the war) and criticism (it was unnecessary, Japan was defeated and the bombing was merely an expression of military force to act as a warning to Stalin) (Lind, 2008;

Páez & Liu, in press). Finally, admission of past violence by States and nations may be a form of admitting past misdeeds and communicating a self-critical negative moral judgment, which can be labelled apology or self-critical remembering. Forms of remembering are important because social representations of the past or ways of remembering it have consequences for the definition of heroes and villains or good and bad behaviors, and delineate acceptable policies and chart the future of nations, influencing the way they relate to other nations. Denial and glorification of past collective violence defines national collective behavior, usually reinforcing proactive attitudes in the case of high status and “winning” nations (Páez et al., 2008), but also inhibiting international reconciliation and fueling collective fear, anger and distrust (Lind, 2008). Even if apologies are not a necessary condition for reconciliation, as show the examples of the UK and USA that established friendly relations with Japan and Germany, and Germany with France, without apologizing for bombings and past violence, in some circumstances apologies appear to be a way of improving intergroup relationships.

–  –  –

apology in response to past atrocities and violation of moral standards has become a universal norm. The politics of memory has changed from a collective memory of pride, based on past heroic golden ages, to a politics of the memory of regret. Due to the more critical view of the future and the erosion of past heroic narratives, the past that weighs the heaviest in many nations today is more the negative past, a self-reflexive collective memory that is focused more on learning a moral lesson from a shameful, undesired and regretted past (Olick and Robbins, 1998). Even if it is not a universal norm, Judt (2005) proposed that an apologetic view of the negative past is a norm in Europe: to become a member of the current European cultural region, a nation should apologize for its role in the Holocaust and past collective violence. For instance, several European countries have called for a Turkish acknowledgment of and apology for the Armenian genocide as a prerequisite for Turkey’s membership of the EU.

As another example of a classical dogmatic institution that is reversing the “never explain, never apologize” doctrine, the Catholic Church is developing a theology of apology. During John Paul II’s papacy, he apologized 94 times until 1997 for the past actions of Church authorities, the Inquisition, wars of religion, and wrongdoings to indigenous peoples, Muslims, Africans and the Jewish community (Accatoli, 1997, quoted in Marrus, 2006, p. 6).

Official apologies between nations have become important. Japan has regularly issued apologies since the nineties – to be precise, 36 since 1973, including admissions of misdeeds and remorse. For instance, Prime Minister Koizumo stated: “In the past, Japan, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to people of many countries, particularly those of Asian nations. Japan squarely faces these facts of history with humility and feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology always engraved in the mind.” (Marrus, 2006, p. 6). Other apologies include remorse and reparatory measures, like Murayama’s 1995 apology to the sex slaves of the Imperial Army, accompanied by material compensation and the establishment of an educational foundation (Lind, 2008). In Europe, the French government has apologized for the role of Vichy in the Holocaust, and Belgium for their role in the Lumumba killing and for limitations in their intervention in Rwanda.

Apologies are also relevant within nations. The Nigerian and Chilean governments apologize to former political prisoners and victims. Apologies are sometimes included in restorative or transitional judicial processes (Collins, 2004). For instance, in 1991, Aylwin, the Chilean President, presented to the nation the Rettig or Truth Commission Report acknowledging 3000 persons “missing” or killed by the Chilean army and police, in a televised broadcast from the presidential palace in Santiago. Being the first democratic elected president after Pinochet’s dictatorship, he insisted that the

Chilean State should be responsible for the crimes of the past:

The agents of the State caused so much suffering and the responsible bodies of the State could not or did not know how to preclude or punish it, while the society failed to react properly. The State and society as a whole are responsible for action or omission…This is why I dare, in my position as President of the Republic, to assume the representation of the nation and, in its name, to beg forgiveness from the relatives of the victims. This is why I also solemnly ask the army and security forces who participated in the excesses committed to make gestures of acknowledgment of the pain they caused with the aim of contributing to the lessening of that pain. (Marrus, 2006, p. 14).

The Irish IRA and the Argentinian Montoneros, as well as some Argentinian and Chilean army generals, have apologized to their former targets and reject past violent actions against civilians as indefensible. Only in limited cases are apologies rejected, as was the case, for instance, of a local leader who did not accept Giscard’s apology for French repression in 1947 in Madagascar. Usually, they are welcome, though they may also be criticized as limited (too few), delayed (too late), or insincere (Cairns, Tam, Hewstone and Niens, 2005; Staub, 2005). Apologies are also being included in 104 Revista de Psicología Social, 2010, 25 (1), pp. 101-115 restorative justice programs and transitional justice procedures or peace processes (Collins, 2004). In all these cases, official apologies are conceived as a prerequisite to improve intergroup relationships, promote forgiveness and restore social cohesion. As Judt (2005) suggests, one objection is that it may only be a cultural belief that “apology is a necessary aspect of healing”, unrelated to reality and only shared in some cultures.

Apology and cultural beliefs At the interpersonal level, an apology is an integrative device for maintaining ingroup cohesion. Apologies in general try to restore the relationship with the offended party, to ask forgiveness and to maintain harmony and social cohesion. An apology offers the hope that social harmony can be restored and the deviant or perpetrator may regain a place in the society (Tavuchis, 1991). Certain differences related to culture and values have been pointed out, suggesting that apology is embedded in Christian and Western values but fits worse in the case of other traditions, like the Islamic and Asian cultures. However, studies in different parts of the world have discovered among lay people a similar script that includes apology as a phenomenon conducive to forgiveness (Azar & Mullet, 2001; 2002; Sandage & Williamson, 2005). Other differences refer to frequency: in cultures such as the hierarchical collectivist China, which emphasizes saving face or maintaining one’s reputation, apologies are weighty acts that are rarely offered and accepted, because they erode social harmony. Cultures that differentiate strongly between the in- and out-group are reluctant to apologize to out-group members because the latter are considered unworthy of receiving an apology. The explanation for the reluctance of the Japanese to give complete apologies for war crimes in World War II is also a matter of cultural background (Stamato, 2008). However, a study in Lebanon, a supposed collectivist culture emphasizing in-group versus outgroup behavioral differences, did not find that the effects of apology were different when coming from in-group or out-group offenders – at least not with a hypothetical scenario opposing Muslim and Druze, Catholic and Meronite Christians (Sandage & Williamson, 2005).

Pages:   || 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |

Similar works:

«From a Minority Point of View: Israeli Gay Men's Dialogues with Mediated Communication1 Amit Kama, Ph.D. Dept. of Sociology, Political Science and Communication The Open University of Israel 16 Klausner St., Ramat Aviv. P.O.B 39328, Tel Aviv 61392, Israel Tel: +972-3-6460455 Fax: +972-3-6460755 amitka@openu.ac.il Notwithstanding the accumulation of knowledge derived from textual analyses (Cf. Creekmur and Doty, 1995; Gross and Woods, 1999), there seems to be a lack of reception studies in the...»

«What can elected mayors do for our cities? Edited by Tom Gash and Sam Sims 1 2 About the authors Andrew Adonis served 12 years in government as a minister and special adviser. He was Secretary of State for Transport, Minister for Schools, Head of the No. 10 Policy Unit, and a Senior No. 10 Adviser on education, public services and constitutional reform. Andrew pioneered key public service reforms including the Academy Programme, Teach First, the radical university tuition fees and grants reform...»

«JAD POLICY ON COPYING and DISTRIBUTION of ARTICLES Because a major goal of JAD is to disseminate the research efforts of our authors and to make their work as widely available as possible to policy makers, professors, and students, JAD hereby grants blanket permission to photocopy the material it publishes if that material is to be used for nonprofit purposes. This permission covers tables, figures, charts and full-length articles, as well as multiple copies of articles. All copies must...»

«The New Dispute Settlers: (Half) Truths and Consequences JOSÉ E. ALVAREZ SUMMARY I. INTRODUCTION II. FIVE HALF-TRUTHS A. The recent proliferation of international tribunals constitutes the judicialization  of international law B. The proliferation of international tribunals constitutes a fundamental shift in favor of law over politics, legal discourse over power-based  diplomacy. C. The proliferation of courts means a fundamental shift to hard  law and hard  remedies. D. We have...»

«University of Florida EEC 7056 Early Childhood Policy and Advocacy Spring 2016 Instructor: Patricia Snyder, Ph.D. Office Hours: 1 hr. before class and by appointment Professor and David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Course Credit: 3 credit hours Chair in Early Childhood Studies Meeting Place: Norman Hall 1345 Conference Room Director, UF Center for Excellence in Early Meeting Day/Time: Thursday, 9-11 (4:05 to 7:05 pm) Childhood Studies Office: Rm.1345S Norman Hall Phone: 352 273-4291 E-mail:...»

«Scandinavian Political Studies, Vol. 25 ^ No. 1, 2002 ISSN 0080^6757 # Nordic Political Science Association Radical Right Populism in Sweden: Still a Failure, But for How Long? Jens Rydgren* Although radical right populist (RRP) parties were successful elsewhere in Western Europe during the 1990s, Denmark and Norway included, the Swedish RRP parties have been more or less failures. Besides the short-lived party New Democracy, which disappeared in 1994, no Swedish RRP party has managed to escape...»

«Navigating the Financial Regulator’s Impossible Trinity Akira Ariyoshi, Professor, School of International and Public Policy, Hitotsubashi University Based on speech delivered at an ADBI-FSA-IMF Conference and published in a conference volume: ADB Institute, Financial Services Agency, Japan, and International Monetary Fund Regional Office for the Asia and Pacific (Editors), Financial System Stability, Regulation, and Financial Inclusion, Springer, Tokyo, 2015. Good morning and first let me...»

«Paper prepared for presentation at the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, March 16–19, 2011. Pandemonium in Silico: Individual Radicalization for Agent-Based Modeling Claudio Cioffi-Revilla and Joseph F. Harrison Center for Social Complexity and Department of Computational Social Science Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, George Mason University Fairfax, VA 22030 USA Abstract. How do individuals become radicalized, turning into terrorists,...»

«School funding: 2006–2010 policy changes under the Labour Government SN/SP/6703 Standard Note: 29 November 2013 Last updated: Tim Jarrett Author: Section Social Policy Following funding problems for schools in 2003, the then Labour Government abandoned the system of providing a non-ring-fenced notional amount for education within each local authority’s total funding. Guaranteed per pupil funding increases alleviated the funding crisis before a new school funding system was introduced in...»

«MA Religion in Global Politics Programme Handbook 2016/17 Table of Contents Programme Convenor & Director of Studies Programme Description Programme Aims Entry Requirements Programme Structure Compulsory Courses Taught Courses: Options Programme Administration Student support Contact Details for Staff teaching on the Programme Course Descriptions: Compulsory Courses Religion in Global Politics: Theories and Themes Dissertation in Religion in Global Politics Course Descriptions: Taught Options...»

«Institute for Public Policy Institute for Development and Social Initiatives “Viitorul” International Centre for Policy Studies Migration trends and Policies in the Black sea region: cases of Moldova, roMania and Ukraine Chisinau 2008 This report was prepared within a trilateral project “Managing Migration in the Black Sea Region: Improving the Implementation of National Policies in Ukraine, Moldova and Romania through Regional Cooperation between NGOs” funded by the Open Society...»

«CNMV ADVISORY COMMITTEE RESPONSE TO THE FSB CONSULTATIVE DOCUMENTS: A POLICY FRAMEWORK FOR STRENGTHENING OVERSIGHT AND REGULATION OF SHADOW BANKING ENTITIES AND A POLICY FRAMEWORK FOR ADDRESSING SHADOW BANKING RISKS IN SECURITIES LENDING AND REPOS The CNMV's Advisory Committee has been set by the Spanish Securities Market Law as the consultative body of the CNMV. This Committee is composed by market participants (members of secondary markets, issuers, retail investors, intermediaries, the...»

<<  HOME   |    CONTACTS
2016 www.dissertation.xlibx.info - Dissertations, online materials

Materials of this site are available for review, all rights belong to their respective owners.
If you do not agree with the fact that your material is placed on this site, please, email us, we will within 1-2 business days delete him.