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A field test of equivocation theory: Apologies by Canadian churches to indigenous people

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Abstract:

To extend the avoidance theory of equivocation from quantitative lab experiments to naturally occurring instances, we analyzed the texts of six apologies that were originally offered in person by four Canadian church organizations. The decision of a church to apologize to indigenous people for past actions created a conflict in which the church would wish to avoid the negative consequences of refusing to apologize but also those of a full apology. Using the standard that a true apology includes the agent and the acts of the offense, the analysis focused on whether the church or its representatives were the grammatical subject of acts described in simple active voice (vs. passive, a noun, etc.). Four of the six never used this construction for the offences and were thus equivocal apologies. The internal evidence suggests that potential legal liability is the primary barrier to taking full responsibility.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

apolog (141), church (65), agent (43), action (40), claus (32), offens (32), equivoc (31), voic (31), one (30), unit (27), respons (26), would (26), activ (25), avoid (25), describ (24), 1991 (24), offenc (23), 1998 (22), act (22), verb (20), abus (20),

Author's Keywords:

equivocation, apologies, field study
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Name: International Communication Association
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MLA Citation:

Bavelas, Janet. "A field test of equivocation theory: Apologies by Canadian churches to indigenous people" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA, May 27, 2003 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p111567_index.html>

APA Citation:

Bavelas, J. , 2003-05-27 "A field test of equivocation theory: Apologies by Canadian churches to indigenous people" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p111567_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: To extend the avoidance theory of equivocation from quantitative lab experiments to naturally occurring instances, we analyzed the texts of six apologies that were originally offered in person by four Canadian church organizations. The decision of a church to apologize to indigenous people for past actions created a conflict in which the church would wish to avoid the negative consequences of refusing to apologize but also those of a full apology. Using the standard that a true apology includes the agent and the acts of the offense, the analysis focused on whether the church or its representatives were the grammatical subject of acts described in simple active voice (vs. passive, a noun, etc.). Four of the six never used this construction for the offences and were thus equivocal apologies. The internal evidence suggests that potential legal liability is the primary barrier to taking full responsibility.

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Document Type: .PDF
Page count: 26
Word count: 6207
Text sample:
1 ABSTRACT A Field Test of Equivocation Theory: Apologies by Canadian Churches to Indigenous Peoples To extend the avoidance theory of equivocation from quantitative lab experiments to naturally occurring instances we analyzed the texts of six apologies that were originally offered in person by four Canadian church organizations. The decision of a church to apologize to indigenous people for past actions created a conflict in which the church would wish to avoid the negative consequences of refusing to apologize
it like it isn’t. Direct and indirect language in sexual assault trial judgments. Paper presented at International Communication Association Annual Meeting Washington D. C. Sage (1998). Needs and expectations for redress of victims of abuse at residential schools. Final Reported Submitted to the Law Commission of Canada (23 October 1998). Taft L. (2000). Apology subverted: the commodification of apology. Yale Law Journal 109 1135. (full text available on LegalTrac) Tavuchis N. (1991). Mea culpa. A sociology of apology and


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