Apologia: Definition & Examples

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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