An Introduction to Apologia

Apologia (etymologically derives from the Greek word apologos), refers to “the speech of self-defense.”

Ingenious scholars of communication have unanimously defined apologia as a particular type of discourse that focuses on the “self defense” needed to combat external personal attacks on one's character (Ware & Linkugel, 1973).

Concepts and Strategies of Response — Focusing on the discourse or speech of self-defense, there is an establish framework which outlines four core strategies of response, namely: “denialOpens in new window,” “bolsteringOpens in new window,” “differentiation,” and “transcendence.” A few details of these terms are stressed below:

  1. Denial needs no explanation, it's often in such statement as, (“I didn’t do it”);
  2. Bolstering is the association of positive information—in the view of the recipient or audience—with the apologizer as, (“He’s such a nice guy at home”);
  3. Differentiation means reduction or particularization of the charge, usually in such statement as, (“What I did wasn’t so bad”);
  4. Transcendence means association with some higher purpose, usually in such statement as, (“I had good reasons”).
  5. (Excerpt courtesy of: Jane Yamazaki, Japanese Apologies for World War II: A Rhetorical Study)

Benoit's Theory of Image Restoration — To summarily paraphrase the articles of Jane Yamazaki, William Benoit in his “Theory of Image RestorationOpens in new window” (which implies the situation of accusation and self-defense) emphasizes the importance of restoring a person’s good name and reputation in the community.

He enumerated five basic rhetorical strategies of image restoration; namely, mortification, denial, evasion of responsibility, reduction of offensiveness, and correction. The term “mortification,” Benoit clearly defined as “admitting responsibility and asking for forgiveness” which is literally in correlation with the well-known ‘true-apology.’

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