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Special Collection

#Sorrynotsorry: Social psychological and intergroup underpinnings of political apologies

Collection launched: 02 Jul 2021

Political apologies can be a powerful tool in reexamining past wrongdoings. Worldwide history abounds with examples of political apologies, with some scholars going so far as to refer to this period as the ‘Age of Apology’. Political apologies can also be controversial, however, and lead to much public debate about what they mean and what they might accomplish. This special issue brings together scholarship on this topic to provide more insight into the potential role that political apologies might play in redressing wrongs from the past. The studies cover a range of countries and methods using experimental, correlational, and qualitative analyses. They address whether the political apologies that have been offered so far tend to include the elements that are generally seen essential in reconciliation or healing processes. In addition, they examine what might predict people’s support for political apologies (e.g., empathy, guilt, positive or negative representations of the past), how effective they are restoring trust (also compared to interpersonal apologies), and whether this depends on their content as well. The findings offer a nuanced understanding of the nature and potential impact of political apologies in reconciliation or healing processes.

Guest editors: Theofilos Gkinopoulos (University of Crete, Greece), Thia Sagherian-Dickey (Tilburg University, Netherlands) and Juliette Schaafsma (Tilburg University, Netherlands)