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Apologies of the Rich and Famous: Cultural, Cognitive, and Social Explanations of Why We Care and Why We Forgive

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Abstract

In recent years, U.S. and other Western media have inundated the public with celebrity apologies. The public (measured via representative opinion polls) then expresses clear ideas about who deserves forgiveness. Is forgiveness highly individualized or tied to broader social, cultural, and cognitive factors? To answer this question, we analyzed 183 celebrity apologies offered between October 1, 2000, and October 1, 2012. Results are twofold and based in both cultural and social psychological perspectives. First, we found that public forgiveness is systematically tied to discursive characteristics of apologies-particularly sequential structures. Certain sequences appear to cognitively prime the public, creating associative links to established cultural scripts of atonement and rendering some apologies more successful than others. Second, public forgiveness is contingent on broader patterns of social interaction. Like many persuasive messages, successful apologies exist as ordered cultural moments steeped in characteristics of the social relations that bind offenders, victims, and a broader audience of onlookers.

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... The notion of cultural schemas has been suggested as a suitable base concept for bridging the vocabularies of culture and cognition (c.f. DiMaggio 1997), and it has seen increasing use in empirical research emphasizing culture-cognition interaction (see, for example, Abbe et al. 2009;Baumann and Ho 2014;Baumann and de Laat 2012;Blair-Loy 2001;Brubaker, Loveman, and Stamatov 2004;Cerulo and Ruane 2014;Frye 2013;Hunzaker 2014;Vaisey 2009). This concept is powerful because of its close semantic and structural resemblance to cognitive schemas, the base concept of cognitive science. ...
... Schemas are learned in association with the contexts they are commonly experienced in, including physical environments, social instructions, relations, or even abstract ideas. Therefore, some schemas are more salient and more easily activated in certain contexts, and contexts-such as the physical environment, the presence of cultural symbols, or the sequential ordering of discourse-provide input influencing the schemas people use to perceive, understand, and react to a situation (Bargh 1997;Bayer et al. 2015;Cerulo and Ruane 2014;Shepherd 2011). For example, robbery may be more likely to come to mind than internet piracy when discussing 'crime,' but if the topic is both 'online' and 'crime,' internet piracy might be more likely to come to mind (see Figure 4). ...
... In addition, the umbrella model could also lessen resistance against a 'cognitive turn' from cultural sociologists invested in one of the established traditions, since the cultural schema concept is used as a conceptual adapter rather than a replacement for established concepts. In contrast to the umbrella model, cultural schemas have sometimes been treated as yet another concept as other cultural conceptualizations, such as, for example cultural models, scripts, and categories (Cerulo and Ruane 2014;D'Andrade 1992;Quinn and Holland 1987;Sharifian 2003). However, cultural schemas are arguably better thought of as umbrella concepts on a higher level of abstraction, in part to imitate the role of cognitive schemas in the cognitive sciences, but also because schemas are more abstract and generic than models, scripts, or categories, which are all schematic. ...
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A growing number of sociologists are now joining the interdisciplinary study of culture-cognition interaction, but broader engagement has been prevented by the vastly different vocabularies of cognitive and cultural theories, which creates an illusion of mutual incompatibility and irrelevance. The concept of ‘Cultural schemas’ can provide a conceptual bridge between these vocabularies, but the relationship between cultural and cognitive schemas requires further clarification to facilitate broader engagement and two-way compatibility. This paper reviews the schema concept and makes four interrelated arguments for conceptualizing cultural schemas and their relationship to cognitive schemas and other cultural conceptualizations. Cultural schemas should: 1) be conceptualized as a social analogue to cognitive schemas rather than as a subtype of mental patterns; 2) have the same conceptual role and structure as cognitive schemas in relation to other concepts, as an umbrella term subsuming other, more specific conceptualizations of culture; 3) be thought of as a supra-individual phenomenon with emergent properties, while still recognizing the neurocognitive microfoundations of culture; and 4) emphasize the asymmetric relationships between culture and cognition, and the disparate mental and social mechanisms involved as one shapes another. Finally, a multilevel analytical framework of this relationship is suggested based on established macro-micro models.
... The post goes on to note, "We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you," a statement that seems to focus on the user, but which instead calls attention to the company. Cerulo and Ruane (2014) call this an "Offender-Driven Sequence" apology in which the focus is on the offender and the context, an information-dense statement that prioritizes the offenders and their understanding of the breach, rather than acknowledging the validity of the suffering of the victim (p. 131). ...
... In their analysis of the apologies of celebrities, Cerulo and Ruane (2014) found that the status and iconicism of the offender led to higher levels of public forgiveness (p. 145). ...
... Rutenberg returning to the film in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal is telling because it signals the strength of cultural discourse about celebrities and Zuckerberg in particular. And as Cerulo and Ruane (2014) note, the power of apology and the impulse to forgive are rooted in larger cultural narratives about those individuals and companies (p. 144). ...
Article
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This article explores the 2018 apology campaign launched by Facebook in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. While the campaign has largely been read as a failure, this article reads the five key moments of apology against the broader cultural discourse produced by the social media giant in order to argue that the campaign is actually quite successful. Facebook uses the performance of apology to create a divided perception of the company that allows it to reroute the expected transformation of the penitent into a strengthening of its brand identity, pointing to the immense discursive power of Facebook.
... Her work and subsequent relevant contributions (Cerulo 2000;Muschert 2007;Muschert and Carr 2006) examined a variety of topics, including public apologies (Cerulo and Ruane 2014), awakening narratives (DeGloma 2010), and use of fear (Altheide 2002). These studies, however, have not considered how actors with different positions in a field might compete to affirm their particular perspective. ...
... This approach inspired a number of analyses of deviant and criminal cases (Adorjan 2010;Altheide 2002;DeGloma 2009;Muschert 2007;Muschert and Carr 2006;Muschert and Janssen 2012;Wallace 2008), but it is not solely confined to instances of violence. For instance, Cerulo and Ruane (2014) analyze the association between the syntax of public apologies and public forgiveness, identifying a new instance of sequence that signals action-ownership, and DeGloma (2010) utilizes this framework to analyze "awakening narratives." As mentioned in the introduction, a limitation of this work, which I address in this study, is its separation from field theory. ...
... In this paper, I examined a story where private drama, public debate, political dynamics, ideological battle, juridical reason, medical knowledge, and the very concepts of life and death played a role in the fate of a woman who spent almost half of her life in a vegetative state. I attempted to capture the discursive field around a subject whose meaning attracted a great deal of contestation and whose characteristics evoked those at the center of other sequence analyses (Adorjan 2010;Altheide 2002;Cerulo 1998Cerulo , 2000Cerulo and Ruane 2014;DeGloma 2009DeGloma , 2010Muschert 2009;Muschert and Carr 2006;Muschert and Janssen 2012;Wallace 2008). This allowed engaging with cultural theory while trying to find a compromise in the ceaseless tension between context and structure. ...
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Advancement in medical science and technology enhanced the human capacity to intervene in the process of dying, forcing professionals and the public to face ethical dilemmas and question the boundary between life and death. The contentious discourse on this boundary is particularly salient given the unprecedented levels of population aging all over the world. This paper analyzes the discursive field surrounding a notable Italian end-of-life controversy. Combining field and narrative theories, the present study spans structural aspects and rhetorical mechanisms. Results show that not only are antithetical interpretations of the event tied to media’s ideological leanings, but the latter are also systematically associated with different sequential structures of headlines and story leads. Competing actors produce alternative frameworks by identifying different sets of perpetrators.
... Our aim was to determine how the authors of these studies define the acceptance of an apology, but also to see if they make a distinction between apology acceptance and forgiveness when they measure peoples' responses to apologies. We found 17 studies that used the acceptance of an apology as a variable (i.e., Bennett and Dewberry 1994, Bennett and Earwaker 1994, Risen and Gilovich 2007, Kampf 2008, Ohbuchi et al. 2008, Harth et al. 2011, Coombs and Holladay 2012, Dhami 2012, Kirchhoff et al. 2012, Walfisch et al. 2013, Allan et al. 2014, Cerulo and Ruane 2014, Chiles and Roloff 2014, Kirchhoff and Čehajić-Clancy 2014, Barlow et al. 2015, Dhami 2015, Wohl et al. 2015. We begin by discussing how researchers defined and/or described the acceptance of an apology. ...
... There were some researchers, however, who conflated acceptance of the apology and forgiveness either through the context of the study (see, e.g., Ohbuchi et al. 2008, Cerulo andRuane 2014) or by using the terms interchangeably (see, e.g., Kampf 2008, Coombs andHolladay 2012). They therefore did not explicitly view the acceptance of apologies as a discrete stage in the corrective process; however, this was probably due more to unawareness of the difference between the two responses (and the importance of making the distinction) rather than deliberate contention. ...
Article
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The apology-followed-by-forgiveness sequence that is dominant in the literature guides responses to apologies and influences how justice processes such as victim-offender mediation are conceived. In this paper, however, we present research that suggests a more suitable conceptualisation of the corrective process is one that includes the acceptance of an apology as an additional discrete step that is distinct from forgiveness. We begin with a brief discussion of the psychological view of apologies as a process of negotiation between offending and offended parties, and how researchers and practitioners conceive peoples’ responses to apologies. We also review the psychological literature to determine how psychologists define the acceptance of an apology and how they view it within the corrective process. We then briefly examine how the outcome of forgiveness is commonly used as a restorative ideal in the context of restorative justice conferencing and suggest that assessing instead the acceptance of an apology may be more appropriate in this setting. We conclude the paper with a brief agenda for further research.
... This approach inspired a number of analyses of deviant and criminal cases (Adorjan 2010;Altheide 2002;DeGloma 2009;Muschert 2007;Muschert and Carr 2006;Muschert and Janssen 2012;Wallace 2008), but it is not solely confined to instances of violence. For instance, Cerulo and Ruane (2014) analyze the association between the syntax of public apologies and public forgiveness, identifying a new instance of sequence that signals action-ownership, and DeGloma (2010) utilizes this framework to analyze "awakening narratives." As mentioned in the introduction, a limitation of this work, which I address in this study, is its separation from field theory. ...
... In this paper I examined a story where private drama, public debate, political dynamics, ideological battle, juridical reason, medical knowledge, and the very concepts of life and death played a role in the fate of a woman who spent almost half of her life in a vegetative state. I attempted to capture the discursive field around a subject whose meaning attracted a great deal of contestation, and whose characteristics evoked those at the center of other sequence analyses (Adorjan 2010;Altheide 2002;Cerulo 1998Cerulo , 2000Cerulo and Ruane 2014;DeGloma 2009DeGloma , 2010Muschert 2009;Muschert and Carr 2006;Muschert and Janssen 2012;Wallace 2008). This allowed engaging with cultural theory while trying to find a compromise in the ceaseless tension between context and structure. ...
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Advancement in medical science and technology enhanced the human capacity to intervene in the process of dying, forcing professionals and the public to face ethical dilemmas, and question the boundary between life and death. The contentious discourse on this boundary is particularly salient given the unprecedented levels of population ageing all over the world. This paper analyzes the discursive field surrounding a notable Italian end-of-life controversy. Combining field and narrative theories, the present study spans structural aspects and rhetorical mechanisms. Results show that not only are antithetical interpretations of the event tied to media's ideological leanings, but the latter are also systematically associated with different sequential structures of headlines and story leads. Competing actors produce alternative frameworks by identifying different sets of perpetrators.
... Piazza et al. 2015), as well as how the different strategies are sequentially organized in talk (cf. Cerulo and Ruane 2014). Resulting patterns may indicate whether different social groups use similar or dissimilar strategies to cope with failure and success. ...
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Included in the definition of being an aspiring person is the risk of failure. Aspiring fiction writers are no exception. This article shows that the role of aspiring fiction writer involves managing three issues: the hope of being published, rejection by a publisher, and the perception of the rejection as a failure. Drawing on 47 interviews with fiction writers who have attempted to become first-time writers, the analysis shows that aspiring writers’ responses to rejection are related to accepting and dismissing responsibility for having failed and admitting or dismissing the rejection as a perceived failure. Based on these findings, the article presents procedures associated with four main approaches to dealing with failure: conceding, excusing, justifying, and refusing. This conceptual framework for understanding failure contributes to a theoretical understanding of evaluation and valuation processes and their consequences and to empirical studies of rejection as career failure; it also systematizes and extends Goffmans work on cooling out strategies.
... Current research denotes that individuals often apologise after a transgression has been committed (Hu et al., 2019). Reasons to apologise can be explained by several motivating factors (Cerulo and Ruane, 2014). Firstly, apologies can elicit empathy for the perpetrator, particularly when the offender provides a rationale for the transgression (McCullough et al., 1997). ...
Article
Purpose This paper aims to examine the role of religiosity on consumers’ forgiveness when celebrities get involved in transgression. The celebrity’s reaction and its impact on consumers’ forgiveness is tested as well. In addition, consumers’ attitudes towards the brand and celebrity as well as purchase intention for the endorsed brand are examined both before and after the transgression. Design/methodology/approach Data ( n = 356) were collected through a self-administered online survey and analysed though structural equation modelling in AMOS 26. Findings The results show that consumers’ attitude towards celebrity, brand and purchase intention gets weaker once the celebrity gets into transgression. Consumers tend to forgive more if the celebrity apologises (vs denies) for the wrongdoing. The hypothesised relationship between attitude towards celebrity and purchase intention did not sustain after the transgression. In addition, consumers’ intrinsic religiosity strengthens the relationship between attitude towards the celebrity and purchase intention. Practical implications The findings of this research present valuable implications for brands practitioners. Brands should formulate actionable contingency plans to mitigate the negative ramifications of celebrity transgressions. Specifically, intrinsic religiosity and celebrity apologies should assist consumers in forgiving the transgression and negate the implications that could have arisen if the celebrity instead denied the transgressions. Originality/value This research extends the previous research by examining religiosity and forgiveness within the context of celebrity transgressions. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is one of the first few research studies to consider the role religiosity plays in consumers’ intention to forgive celebrity transgressions.
... Sequences appear important to other moral judgments as well. Cerulo and Ruane (2014) analyzed 183 celebrity apologies offered between October 2000 and October 2012. They studied elements of the apology itself as well as public reaction to the apology. ...
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This article is part of a special journal section addressing the sociology of culture and cognition and its future. In this essay, I use the areas of “serial position effects” and “sequencing” to illustrate ways of creating interdisciplinary dialogue between sociologists of culture and cognition and cognitive scientists. I view the body as an integral link in connecting these two fields.
... Although there is value in monitoring social media comments (Coombs and Holladay, 2012;Edgerly et al., 2013;Siersdorfer et al., 2010;Thelwall, 2017), it's also important to recognize that the comments reflect the sentiment of the commenting public, and not the majority of the viewersthe noncommenting public. After Cerulo and Ruane (2014) analyzed 183 celebrity apologies using Benoit's (1995) typology of image restoration strategies, they concluded further research was needed, specifically a design that considered "the characteristics of those evaluating the apology" (p. 145) to gauge the impact of evaluators' social profiles, (e.g. ...
Article
Purpose This study examined how audience characteristics and attitudes relate to their perceptions of sincerity and forgiveness of apologies by public figures posted on YouTube. Design/methodology/approach Four hundred twenty-seven adult participants recruited through Amazon's Mechanical Turk completed an online survey via Qualtrics. Participants were randomly assigned to view two of four public figure apologies posted on YouTube. Findings Results indicated that audience fandom and perceived reputation and attractiveness of the public figure were related to perceptions of sincerity and forgiveness; and perceptions of sincerity and forgiveness were related to intentions of future support. Research limitations/implications “Sameness” between the public figure and audience did not garner a more favorable response to the apology, and this is not consistent with earlier studies. For race similarity, the results could have been a reflection of the low number of non-White participants. However, results could indicate that “sameness” is not as simplistic as demographic sameness, such as race, sex or age. Practical implications The authors’ findings elevate the importance of gathering and benchmarking pre-crisis attitudinal research to better equip and inform communication professionals for crisis response. In addition, the study suggests that a public figure's strong reputation and fanbase provide a type of inoculation, lessening reputational damage. Social implications The finding that perceived attractiveness relates positively to perceptions of sincerity and forgiveness is consistent with psychological research indicating attractiveness has many positive social implications – even in mediated communication. Originality/value Evidence suggests social media apologies matter. Communication professionals need to approach apology opportunities with a keen awareness that relational outcomes and intentions of future support can shift based on social media audiences' attitudes related to the public figure.
... Sequences appear important to other moral judgments as well. Cerulo and Ruane (2014) analyzed 183 celebrity apologies offered between October 2000 and October 2012. They studied elements of the apology itself as well as public reaction to the apology. ...
... On what basis, then, will third-party observers decide that offenders deserve forgiveness? Apart from work on public confession (Cerulo & Ruane, 2014;Gold & Weiner, 2000;Weiner, Graham, Peter, & Zmuidinas, 1991) and victim-observer asymmetries in discriminating apology sincerity (Hashimoto & Karasawa, 2012Risen & Gilovich, 2007), no studies to our knowledge have tackled this subject. ...
Article
Previous forgiveness research has mostly focused on victims’ forgiveness of transgressors, and offenders’ post-transgression efforts intended to promote victim forgiveness have been collectively branded as apology. However, decisions concerning forgiveness frequently occur outside of dyadic contexts, and the unique roles of repentance and atonement in determining forgivability of offenders, despite their preeminence in theology and law, have received little empirical attention. Across five experiments (N=938), we show that repentance and atonement independently influence third-party perception of forgivability for a variety of harms, even in disinterested contexts. Our findings provide a systematic examination of decisions about forgivability disentangled from direct personal involvement, demonstrating that components of apology known to facilitate forgiveness in victims also increase perceived forgivability from unharmed observers.
... 3 research (Brekhus et al. 2010;Cerulo 2002Cerulo , 2010bDiMaggio 1997;Shepherd 2011). Such previously unexplored possibilities for synergy have already been proved to be fruitful by several noteworthy empirical studies published in top-ranking journals (see, for example, Cerulo and Ruane 2014;Frye 2013;Hunzaker 2014;Martin and Desmond 2010;Vaisey 2009). ...
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This chapter briefly covers the history of culture and cognition-research in broad strokes to illustrate how we ended up in a situation where 'cognition' is a foreign term to culture researchers (as is 'culture' to many cognitive scientists). It describes the separate developments of cognitive science and cultural studies, and the subsequent developments cultural sociology drawing heavily upon the latter while being largely disconnected from the former. I argue that the chasm is a product of how the conceptual vocabularies of cognitive science and cultural sociology have developed in relative isolation of each other. Finally, the chapter describes the emergence of cognitive sociology and its two main approaches: isolationism and reductionism. The paper is an abridged online version of a doctoral dissertation introduction.
... Still others contend that focus groups capture "minds at work" as subjects "air, reflect and reason their views aloud" with both researchers and other group members (e.g. Cerulo 1998:112-113;Cerulo and Ruane 2014). Some favor experimental research, particularly when one can monitor subjects' physiological responses to situations and challenges that surround their actions (e.g. ...
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Apologies play an important role in forgiveness, but the pathway from apology to forgiveness is unclear. Many researchers use Goffman’s model of the corrective interchange, or models derived from it to guide their research. This model is based on the assumption that offenders apologise to victims who accept these apologies and that this leads to forgiveness. The acceptance of the apology is therefore central in this model, so we undertook a systematic literature review to determine how researchers conceptualise and measure apology acceptance and found a lack of clarity around the construct. We addressed this theoretical uncertainty by exploring whether lay people distinguish between apology acceptance and forgiveness, and if they do, how they describe apology acceptance. We use contemporary neuro-cognitive theories that explain social and moral decision-making and behaviour to integrate the themes we identified to develop a preliminary theoretical explanation of how the apology acceptance stage fits into Goffman’s model.
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This paper looks at the ways in which the gendered social construction of the ‘popular girl’ infuses girls’ ideas as to their role models: those representing who they would like to be when they ‘grow up’. It will look at the ways in which the gendered characteristics that are seen to be of most value to girls (often embodied by ‘celebrities’ such as Britney and Beyoncé) often reflect socially dominant constructions of femininity. These characteristics can in some ways be seen to emphasise passivity rather than agency and power – for an example in an emphasis on attractiveness and appearance rather than activity and accomplishments. However, such desired characteristics are also those considered to characterise the ‘popular’ girl at school – a position of power and influence amongst girls’ peers. Therefore such desires are complexly located within both the constraints of hegemonic femininities and the dynamics of power relations between girls themselves.
Book
The Second Edition of The SAGE Handbook of Persuasion: Developments in Theory and Practice provides readers with logical, comprehensive summaries of research in a wide range of areas related to persuasion. From a topical standpoint, this handbook takes an interdisciplinary approach, covering issues that will be of interest to interpersonal and mass communication researchers as well as to psychologists and public health practitioners. Persuasion is presented in this volume on a micro to macro continuum, moving from chapters on cognitive processes, the individual, and theories of persuasion, to chapters highlighting broader social factors and phenomena related to persuasion, such as social context and larger scale persuasive campaigns. Each chapter identifies key challenges to the area and provides research strategies for addressing those challenges.
Chapter
Purpose – It is often difficult to assign blame to youthful violent offenders, and journalists may be uncertain how to determine the moral culpability of performers of horrific crimes such as school shootings. Methodology/approach – In order to examine journalists’ assignation of moral responsibility for school shooting events, this article examines the sequencing dynamic (i.e., the order in which elements of news reportage appear) present in article lead sections from 112 New York Times articles about nine rampage school shootings occurring in the United States between 1997 and 2001. Findings – Analysis revealed that journalists initially tended to select sequences that more clearly assigned blame. Over time journalists tended to rely on details that highlighted the contextual elements, rhetorically reducing the moral responsibility of the perpetrators. School shootings may ultimately be remembered as horrible events, but the youthful nature of the offenders and other contexts of the events will tend to mitigate the shooters’ moral culpability. Originality/value of chapter – This study is the first to apply Cerulo's (1998) concept of sequencing to glean information about the moral decision-making process involved in the production of news content about school shootings.
Article
This volume examines the role of apologia and apology in response to public attack. Author Keith Michael Hearit provides an introduction to these common components of public life, and considers a diverse list of subjects, from public figures and individuals to corporations and institutions. He explores the motivations and rationales behind apologies, and considers the ethics and legal liabilities of these actions. Hearit provides case studies throughout the volume, with many familiar examples from recent events in the United States, as well as an international apology-making case from Japan. The broad-perspective approach of this volume makes the content relevant and appealing to practitioners and scholars in public relations, business communications, and management. It is a valuable text for courses that take a discursive approach to public relations, and it also appeals to readers in business management, examining apology as a response strategy to corporate crises. © 2006 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.
Article
Celebrity Culture and the American Dream, Second Edition considers how major economic and historical factors shaped the nature of celebrity culture as we know it today, retaining the first edition's examples from the first celebrity fan magazines of 1911 to the present and expanding to include updated examples and additional discussion on the role of the internet and social media in today's celebrity culture. Equally important, the book explains how and why the story of Hollywood celebrities matters, sociologically speaking, to an understanding of American society, to the changing nature of the American Dream, and to the relation between class and culture. This book is an ideal addition to courses on inequalities, celebrity culture, media, and cultural studies.
Article
This book examines the political uses of official apologies in the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Nobles explores why minority groups demand such apologies and why governments do or do not offer them. She argues that apologies can help to alter the terms and meanings of national membership. Minorities demand apologies in order to focus attention on historical injustices, the rectification of which, they argue, should guide changes in present-day government policies. When employed by political actors, apologies play an important, if under appreciated, role in bringing certain views about history and moral obligation to bear in public life.
Article
CHAPTER ONE New Thoughts on Violence Violence, Sequencing, and Meaning Implications of the Study Outline of the Book Conclusion CHAPTER TWO Deciphering Violence Violence: The Identification Dilemma Beyond Identity Qualifiers Conclusion CHAPTER THREE The Cognitive Order of Right and Wrong Sequencing Right and Wrong Sequencing Ambiguous Violence Beyond the News Seeing Right, Wrong, and Undecided Conclusion CHAPTER FOUR Institutionalizing Right, Wrong, and Undecided By the Book: Lessons on Storytelling Sequence Conventions in Broader Social Context Conclusion CHAPTER FIVE Audience "Readings" of Violence Tapping the Subject's Voice Findings Conclusion CHAPTER SIX Practical Applications and Scholarly Implications Reviewing the Findings Sequencing and the Fight Against Violence Sequencing and Media Objectivity Sequencing and the Scholarly Study of Meaning Conclusion
Article
Through qualitative content analysis of breaking and traditional news coverage of the balloon boy hoax, this article expands on research that explores how journalists craft resonance through storytelling. Scholars haven’t applied resonance to breaking news; yet, it is an important context in which to study resonance—news values and routines differ, and the impact on audiences is greater. Because journalists apply different news values and storytelling techniques in breaking news, this storytelling context heightens resonance.
Article
National symbols, modern totems with ancient roots, remain entities for which men and women continue to march, debate, fight, and die. Modern political leaders still drape their campaigns in such symbols; modern revolutionaries still defile them. "Identity Designs" explores the source of this long-standing power--the way national symbols are selected, the manner in which their meaning is conveyed, their potential effects, and the sustenance of their power.In particular, the book charts the role of design in the selection of symbolic images, thus demonstrating that symbols are chosen not just for "what" they convey, but "how" they convey their message. Karen Cerulo shows that the symbolic designs of a nation's identity are not simply the products of indigenous characteristics, as conventional wisdom might suggest. Rather, the banners and songs by which nations represent themselves are generated by broad social forces that transcend the peculiarities of any one nation. Cerulo's analysis acquaints readers with a set of social structural factors that delimit rules of symbolic expression. Further, the book suggests the benefits of adhering to these rules and explores the costs of violating them.
Article
A growing body of research suggests that non-humans play a central role in many social interactions – not simply as objects used by humans as interaction props, but as fully participating agents of action. In this essay, I examine these innovative ideas, reviewing survey data that documents this trend and theoretical and empirical work that seeks to better understand it.
Article
Apology is an increasingly prominent form of conflict management in many areas of social life. Yet there are few systematic studies of apology as a dependent variable. Analyzing the last statements of Texas death row prisoners, we find that the best predictor of apology is affiliation with God. Under traditional Western conceptions, God is an actor endowed with extraordinarily high status. Drawing on the theoretical paradigm known as pure sociology, we argue that death row prisoners who invoke God as a third party in their conflict thereby elevate their own status. Greater vertical closeness to the victim's side generates more social assertiveness and a greater willingness to apologize publicly. In addition, affiliation increases prisoners' relational closeness to God, enhancing their probability of adopting God's modern message of reconciliation. God's status has, however, declined somewhat over the past several centuries—a trend that helps to explain the modern religious emphasis on reconciliation over punishment, apology over defiance.
Book
One of the most profound interactions that can occur between people, apologies have the power to heal humiliations, free the mind from deep-seated guilt, remove the desire for vengeance, and ultimately restore broken relationships. With On Apology, Aaron Lazare offers an eye-opening analysis of this vital interaction, illuminating an often hidden corner of the human heart. He discusses the importance of shame, guilt, and humiliation, the initial reluctance to apologize, the simplicity of the act of apologizing, the spontaneous generosity and forgiveness on the part of the offended, the transfer of power and respect between two parties, and much more. Readers will not only find a wealth of insight that they can apply to their own lives, but also a deeper understanding of national and international conflicts and how we might resolve them. The act of apologizing is quite simply immensely fulfilling. On Apology opens a window onto this common occurrence to reveal the feelings and actions at the heart of this profound interaction.
Article
We know from the issue-framing literature that politicians 'frame' issues strategically to influence public perceptions and preferences. We also know that there are different framing techniques. What remains poorly understood, though, is what makes a frame persuasive. The proposition put forward in this debate paper is that social psychological research into leadership and persuasion can shed light on this question. Social Identity theorists have shown that influential leaders are crafty 'identity entrepreneurs', whose social influence derives, not from their ability to frame issues, but from their ability to redefine the collective self-understanding. Just how potent this framing technique is becomes visible when examining the way in which radical opposition leaders call the electorate to arms. As will be shown with the help of two examples, by persuading the electorate of an imminent threat to the collective 'us', radical opposition leaders are able to gain considerable control not only over whether an 'issue' becomes regarded as a problem requiring a policy-solution, but also over whose evidence/knowledge counts.
Article
In this article, we define the notion of ‘celebrity news’, emphasizing the fact that the portrayal of film stars embodies the imitable and the inimitable and, consequently, points towards values. In that context, we discuss the results of a thematic content analysis of a wide corpus of the daily and weekly European, French-speaking printed media to reveal which values are highlighted in celebrity news; we also compare these results with the contemporary values which emerge from recent European and global surveys of values. We then compare the various types of printed media. Finally, we focus on a specific aspect emerging from the main content analysis: the ‘meltdown’ or ‘fall from grace’, which records the decline of a star figure. Such narratives are good examples of syncretism in values, in which very contradictory attributes in celebrities are made to coexist, yet in which the subversive aspect of such a confrontation is passed over. We conclude by showing that the widespread negotiation of different values perceptible in reporting on celebrity figures is a sign of an era of change and re-evaluation, and therefore deserving of study.
Article
This is the third in a series of investigations of the interactional styles of Japanese and Americans. A series of semistructured interviews was used to identify critical cultural variables affecting the forms of apologies in both countries. In so far as possible these were incorporated into a Form of Apology Questionnaire. This instrument, in random and ordered forms, proved to be a highly reliable instrument for assessing such behavior in the two cultures. Japanese and Americans clearly differed in their manner of coping with social situations in which one person, consciously or unconsciously, harmed another: the Japanese preferring to apologize directly, without explaining their actions, employed a wider range of apologies and adapted more to the status of their partners; the Americans also preferred to apologize directly, but more often offered explanations to justify their acts and adapted their manner of apologizing less to the status to their partners. These differences in communicative style appear to reflect deeper cultural dynamics and psychic differences in the structure of the personality in the two countries.
Article
By former College at Brockport faculty member Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, and Kathleen Hall Jamieson. Is there such a thing as unfiltered information? Not in today's age. The Interplay of Influence : News, Advertising, Politics, and the Internet gives you an understanding of how mass media operates in your world and how powerful it can be. And, you'll also discover the shaping role of the Internet in today's mass media. Plus, it's loaded with study tools and helpful reviews so you can get the grade you need in class, too.
Article
In this essay, we outline the defining characteristics of the rhetoric of atonement and argue that it as an identifiable sub‐genre of apologia. In building this argument, we examine the purposive and situational constraints that lead to atonement and argue that atonement rhetoric can be defined based on five characteristics. We use an analysis of several instances in which President Clinton relied upon atonement to illustrate the power and function of the sub‐genre.
Article
This article critically examines the power of celebrity culture in relation to the rise of cosmetic surgery. The perspective developed is one that attempts to bridge certain developments in social theory and psychoanalytic studies. By drawing on Horton and Wohl’s notion of ‘para-social interaction’, as well as Thompson’s idea of ‘intimacy at a distance’, a critical cultural approach is developed for the analysis of how celebrity bodies become key sites of identification, imitation and desire. The article also draws from the psychoanalytic notion of identification in order to recast the relationship between fandom and celebrity. My argument is that popular and media cultures today are introducing a wholesale shift away from a focus on personalities to celebrity body-parts and their artificial enhancement. To view the body in the light of celebrity culture means, in effect, to see the self increasingly in terms of possible surgical alterations.
Article
This article develops a non-reductive approach to celebrity, treating it as an iconic form of collective representation central to the meaningful construction of contemporary society. Like other compelling material symbols, the celebrity-icon is structured by the interplay of surface and depth. The surface is an aesthetic structure whose sensuous qualities command attention and compel attachment; the depth projects the sacred and profane binaries that structure meaning even in postmodern societies. While celebrity worship displays elements of totemism, it also reflects the eschatological hopes for salvation that mark post-Axial Age religion. The attacks on celebrity culture that inform critical public and intellectual thinking resemble iconoclastic criticisms of idol worship more than they do empirical social scientific study.
Article
Despite the wealth of literature generated over the past two decades on the apology as a speech act, the political apology has been relatively neglected as a research topic. This article aims to examine the pragmatics of such apologies as a generic type of discourse by identifying their salient characteristics: they are in the public domain and highly mediated; they are generated by (and generate) conflict and controversy; on the basis of media and viewer evaluations/judgements, they need to contain both an illocutionary force indicating device (Ifid) and an explicit expression of the acceptance of responsibility/blame for the ‘offence’ in order to be clearly perceived as valid apologies; and they rarely, if ever, involve an expression of absolution. Drawing primarily on data concerning recent political events in the UK (especially the Iraq War), the article attempts to set out and illustrate the different types of political apology. The resulting analysis is related both to previous and current apology research and to recent developments in politeness theory.
Article
Cultural resonance and movement success are not the same, and not all movement speakers seek success in terms resonant with in- stitutionalized discourses—some instead choose to be radical. Quan- titative comparison of German and U.S. newspapers in the period 1970-94 shows how differences in discursive opportunity affect both the strategic use of frames in the feminist repertoire about legal abortion and their long-term success. In Germany, speakers em- phasizing women's victimization and natural connection to the fetus become accepted as representing a realistic feminist position, thus mainstream, while those who would destigmatize abortion become marginalized. In the United States, the reverse is the case. Quali- tative analysis of activist arguments then shows how this adaptation to opportunity by mainstream feminist speakers affects those who continue to voice "radical" concerns. Where once American social movement theories could be criticized for a narrow view of rationality that assumed that strategic choice was simply a matter of objective opportunities and organizational efficiency, it is now largely acknowledged that a movement's objectives, opportunities, and choices are socially constructed and culturally variable. This "cultural turn" in social movement theory emphasizes the role of discourse. In
Article
In this study, 174 respondents completed an online questionnaire measuring their responses to a liked, neutral, or disliked character from the ABC drama Lost. Specifically, they reported their perceived similarity, identification while viewing, and parasocial interaction with the character, as well as the extent to which they had tried to change aspects of themselves to be more like the character (“change/influence”). Across the whole sample, perceived similarity was a significant positive predictor of both identification and parasocial interaction, and identification was associated with higher levels of parasocial interaction. Parasocial interaction, but not identification, was a significant positive predictor of reported change/influence. When the three types of characters were examined separately, all four responses were higher for liked and neutral characters than for disliked characters, and parasocial interaction was higher for liked than for neutral characters. Interpretations of the findings, and implications for understanding viewers' involvement with media characters, are discussed.
Article
In this article, I use the method of conversation analysis and data from American- and British-English conversation to analyze the sequential organization of "explicit" apologies (e.g., I'm sorry, and I must apologize). I demonstrate that (a) apologies can occupy a number of different sequential positions, with different ramifications for the organization of apologizing as an action; (b) apologies can be first parts of adjacency-pair sequences; (c) apologies index particular offenses and embody a claim to have offended someone; (d) As first-pair parts, apologies have a preference organization such that preferred responses mitigate or undermine, and dispreferred responses endorse, apologies' claims to have caused offense; and (e) apology terms can be used to accomplish nonapology actions. In this article, I contribute to our understanding of the social and sequential organization of talk in interaction as well as communication practices dealing with the maintenance of social/relational harmony.
Article
In getting the day's news, many individuals never move beyond headlines, story leads, and sound bytes. Rather, in their attempts to apprehend and evaluate matters, readers and viewers process these brief media summaries and proceed to ‘fill in the blanks’. They construct the details that media summaries fail to provide. This action embodies a unique practice to which I refer as story elaboration. Story elaboration involves the enhancement, and most importantly, the extension of professionally constructed media materials.When engaged in elaboration, readers and viewers become storytellers themselves. Faced with limited data, they choose to build a narrative of their own - a narrative guided not by professional storytelling strategies, but by rules and scripts located in an audience member's sociocultural context. Using data derived from an exploratory study of media messages and their effects, this article explores four specific elements of story elaboration practices. First, I distinguish story elaboration from interpretation, and I provide a full illustration of the practice. Second, I highlight the social profile of those who typically engage in elaboration and I contrast this profile with that of individuals who refrain from elaborative practices. Next, I examine the theme of media stories, and I probe the links between this dimension and readers' and viewers' propensity towards elaboration. Finally, I explore the ‘conventions’ that guide subjects as they create story elaborations.
Article
The purpose of this research was to explore whether self-esteem, defined as both an implicit and an explicit evaluation of the self, moderates the apology – forgiveness process. It was predicted that those with defensive or fragile self-esteem (i.e., high explicit and low implicit self-esteem) would focus on and respond to the aspects of the apology that confirmed the harm done by the transgressor, rather than the transgressor's remorse, and thus respond with less forgiveness and more avoidance and revenge than when the transgressor does not apologize. Participants experienced a transgression, after which the transgressor either apologized or not. As predicted, compared to those with secure self-esteem, those with defensive self-esteem were the least forgiving and the most vengeful and avoidant after receiving an apology. These findings suggest that apologies may not have their intended effect when offered to individuals with defensive self-esteem. Potential mechanisms of this relationship were also examined.
Article
In previous work, we have noted a certain rigidity in sociology's approach to the topic of social relations (Cerulo 1997; Cerulo and Ruane 1997; Cerulo, Ruane, and Chayko 1992). With few exceptions, literature on the subject dichotomizes social relations with reference to the scope of the interaction (small group versus large group) and the mode by which social actors connect (direct connections versus mediated connections). Further, many researchers implicitly rank the social value of each relational form. Sociologists typically identify a society's primary and most valuable relations as the result of direct, physically copresent exchange, exchange involving relatively few interactants. In contrast, secondary relations often are characterized as faceless, impersonal, ingenuous, and fleeting–the result of large-group exchange established via mediated or mechanized connections. Cerulo (1997) suggested the need to reformulate any definition of social relations built upon the small group/large group or the direct/mediated dichotomies. She presented several critical elements upon which new definitions could be built. In this piece, we configure those elements, building six new analytic taxonomies–tools we hope will provoke a richer discussion of connecting, interacting, and resulting forms of social relations.
Article
The present study is a research into the frequency, combination, and sequential position of apology strategies in Persian. The investigation is based on a corpus of 500 naturally-occurring apology exchanges, collected through an ethnographic method of observation. The results revealed that (1) explicit expression of apology with a request for forgiveness (bebaxšid) was the most common apology strategy in Persian. (2) The aforementioned strategy together with acknowledgement of responsibility formed the most frequent combination of apology strategies in this language. (3) The same set of apology strategies used in other investigated languages was common in Persian; however, preferences for using these strategies appeared to be culture-specific.
Article
Discusses the application of the concept of cognitive scripts (i.e., coherent sequences of events expected by an individual and that involve him or her as a participant or an observer) to decision making, attitude formation, and related social behaviors. Processes involved in script selection and development are examined. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Challenges the assumption that clarity, compatibility, and balance achieve the most effective communication. It is argued that certain types of message distortion, both semantic and syntactic, can actually enhance communication effectiveness. Issues related to figure vs ground and syntactic vs semantic meaning are explored. Four forms of meaning are described: normative, syntactic distortion, semantic distortion, and noise. Manipulations of figure and ground in semantic distortion are discussed. A study is proposed to determine whether (1) various communication forms differentially affect audience recall, attention, and response and (2) syntactic and semantic distortion are equally effective in motivating receivers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)