When comedian Louis C.K. issued a public statement on Friday responding to accounts first confirmed in the New York Times of his past sexual offenses against women, Americans reacted with a mix of cautious approval, criticism and exasperation.
Understandably, people don’t take well to public figures confessing their sins only after discovery threatens their careers. But when our profound cultural and political fissures are tearing at the fabric of national community, public apology still has the potential to matter — allowing us to accept and state new public norms, and clarify shared social expectations for behavior.
Apology and its companions (trauma, remorse, redemption, atonement, reconciliation) have been studied across many disciplines. These observations come from my research on community-based racial healing efforts and a course I teach on apology, which draws from memoir, history and social science research.
What is “apology?”
Apology is never merely private. The late sociologist Nicholas Tavuchis noted that while norms around the act of apology vary across cultures, it is central to our existence as social animals. Apology acknowledges the violation of a shared moral code and seeks to repair that violation by expressing remorse. An adequate apology requires, …read more
Via:: Monkey Cage