The performative nature of political apology: Effects on perceived sincerity and elicited trust towards the government, and the role of emotional climate and political positioning
Theofilos Gkinopoulos (Research Fellow-Centre of Marginalised, Victimised and Stigmatized Groups, University of Greenwich)
Abstract: Political apologies can be a powerful tool in re-examining traumatic events and an important facilitator of human interactions between apologisers and those who suffered from the wrongdoing. Worldwide history abounds with examples of political apologies. With theories of apology emphasizing on the linguistic content of political apologies and paying little attention to the scene, i.e. where and how something is said, I argue for a, neglected so far in apology literature, dramaturgical approach of political apology as performance, emphasising more on ‘where and how something is said’ than ‘what is said’. Central to this presentation is the approach of political apology as a performance of the Greek Prime Minister in the aftermath of July 2018 wildfires in Attica, Greece. I conducted two pilot and one main empirical studies with real victims of the disaster zone of east Attica. In this presentation, I will shed light on two key dimensions – exclusion VS inclusion of victims in apologetic action – and I will show empirical results on the effects of a dramaturgical victim-exclusive and victim-inclusive apologetic form on perceived sincerity and elicited trust of apologetic actions, as well as the role of emotional climate, i.e. the feelings of real victims in the given situation of apology, and their political positioning, in perceptions of victim-exclusive vs victim-inclusive apologetic forms.