State apology: The simultaneously hegemonic and brittle ritual

Thomas Bentley* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Readers will inevitably have first-hand experience of how apology operates in the interpersonal domain: the penitent admits they have done wrong and requests forgiveness from the victim. It is then the victim’s turn to reply, either accepting or rejecting the apology. There are good reasons why people can be reluctant to apologise: admitting sin involves acknowledging one’s own inadequacies or moral failings and lowering oneself before the wronged. There is a further relinquishing of authority in that the apologiser risks their utterance being rejected by the wronged. But there is something to be gained: the ritual, when successful, can restore harmony to once fractured relations and can be pivotal in reviving the offender’s tarnished image.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Disaster Ritual
Subtitle of host publicationMultidisciplinary perspectives, cases and themes
EditorsMartin Hoondert, Paul Post, Mirella Klomp, Marcel Barnard
Place of PublicationLeuven, Belgium
PublisherPeeters Publishers
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9789042946491
ISBN (Print)9789042946484
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Publication series

NameLiturgia Condenda
PublisherInstitute for Ritual and Liturgical Studies


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