(Co-)Constructing Interpersonally Sensitive Activities Across Institutional Settings
  • ISSN 1878-9714
  • E-ISSN: 1878-9722
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This paper discusses apologies made by politicians at a recent UK public inquiry, the Leveson Inquiry into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press. I use the freely available data from the Inquiry to explore how politicians apologise in this interactional setting, contrasting it with more usual monologic political apologies. Firstly, I identify the sorts of actions which may be seen as apologisable. I then take a conversation analytic (CA) approach to explore how the apologies can come as a result of an overt complaint and how the apologies are reacted to by counsel and the Inquiry chair. I show that, unlike in everyday conversation, apologies are not the first pair parts of adjacency pairs (cf. Robinson 2004), but rather form action chains (Pomerantz 1978) where the absence of a response is unmarked. I conclude with some observations on how apology tokens may be losing their apologetic meaning.


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