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Apologies made at the Leveson Inquiry: Triggers and responses

Murphy, James



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 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.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 5, 2016
Journal Pragmatics and Society
Print ISSN 1878-9714
Publisher John Benjamins Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 4
Pages 595-617
APA6 Citation Murphy, J. (2016). Apologies made at the Leveson Inquiry: Triggers and responses. Pragmatics and Society, 7(4), 595-617
Keywords apologies, remedial work, conversation analysis, courtroom discourse, political
language, public inquiries, action chains
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This article is under copyright and the publisher should be contacted for permission to re-use or reprint the material in any form


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