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Accepted Paper:

Doing accountability? On ‘non-apologies’ in the digital publics in the context of #MeToo  
Peter Wikström (Karlstad University) Erica Sandlund (Karlstad University)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, public apologies broadly received in mediated settings as ‘non-apologies’ are examined using Conversation Analysis and multimodal frameworks. We highlight the perspective of accountability, and look at how other agendas may conflict with typical requirements of apology speech acts.

Paper long abstract:

This paper presents work in progress from a project on public statements broadly received as ‘non-apologies’ in the context of #MeToo. Drawing on linguistic frameworks from Ethnomethodological Conversation Analysis and multimodal discourse analysis, we examine the design and delivery of apology-framed statements made by prominent public figures, as well as the reception of these statements in journalistic and social media. In the present paper, we focus especially on the public apologies themselves. We find that these statements variously negotiate social and moral requirements for and constraints on accountability, for instance weighing the requirement of responsibility-taking against the constraint of avoiding self-incrimination. In this and other ways, the design of the apology statements is frequently expressive of agendas – personal, professional, or political – that conflict with the typical requirements of a ‘good’ apology. We briefly discuss our linguistic analysis of the statements in relation to popular reception of these statements in the mediated publics, and the implications of these contested apology events for developing our understanding of the conditions of civic participation in the still emergent digital publics.

Panel Mora06b
Retrospective regrets and contemporary apologies II
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 March, 2021, -