Good and Bad Apologies: Determinants of Successful State Apologies

Doctoral Dissertation


Why do some state apologies that address past atrocities succeed at bringing about reconciliation while others fail? Under what conditions would the recipients of apologies find them satisfactory and acceptable? In order to close the gaps between theory and practice regarding the efficacy of state apology, I identify and test four causal factors that can affect victims’ reception of state apologies. These factors are: the manner in which expressions of apology are made (who speaks what, when, where, and how), behavioral consistency of the apologizer, conspicuous opportunism of the apologizer, and prior communicative interactions. I conduct mixed-methods research that incorporates Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and in-depth case studies, using primary sources such as media reports, government statements, organizational reports, and in-depth interviews. By assessing whether and how certain features of an apology affect its reception, this research aims to introduce cross-case empirical analyses and a new dataset on state apologies that could be shared and used for future research on apology and reconciliation.


Attribute NameValues
Author Ji Eun Kim
Contributor Gary Goertz, Committee Member
Contributor Ernesto Verdeja, Committee Member
Contributor Daniel Philpott, Research Director
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Peace Studies
Degree Name Doctor of Philosophy
Banner Code

Defense Date
  • 2017-06-27

Submission Date 2017-07-12
  • political violence

  • transitional justice

  • reconciliation

  • reparations

  • apology

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

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