The frequent realizations of apologies in the global arena since the beginning of the 1990s, has turned the speech act into a common device for image restoration. In spite of the advantages that public figures can benefit in contemporary politics of trust from apologizing, the speech act still poses a threat to the public figure’s image. Apologies can undermine the public figure’s desired face, and project an image of a person who is lack of professional capabilities. The aim of this paper is to examine how public figures realize creative forms of apologetic speech in order to minimize their responsibility for misdeeds, while calculating the costs and benefits in producing apology utterances. Based on the analysis of 354 apologies made in the Israeli public discourse between 1997 and 2004, I demonstrate tactics which range on four main categories of minimizing responsibility for misdeeds: compromising the apology’s performative verb (e.g. using the verb sorry or regret instead of apologize), blurring the nature of the offense (e.g. by apologizing for a specific component, rather than the entirety of the offense), questioning the identity of the offended (e.g. claiming that no one should be offended by the act) or questioning the identity of the offender (e.g. explicitly denying direct responsibility for the offense).
Zohar Kampf, Journal of Pragmatics, Volume 41, Issue 11, November 2009, Pages 2257–2270.
The main finding of a comprehensive empirical research project on the intersubjective acceptability of the pragma-dialectical discussion rules (Van Eemeren, Garssen & Meuffels, 2009) is that ordinary language users judge discussion moves that are considered fallacious from an argumentation-theoretical perspective as unreasonable. In light of this finding it is remarkable that in everyday argumentative discourse fallacies occur regularly and seem many times not to be noticed by the participants in the discourse. This also goes for the abusive argumentum ad hominem. While abusive ad hominem attacks are judged to be very unreasonable discussion moves when the unreasonableness of clear cases of this fallacy is rated in experiments, in real life this fallacy remains undetected more often than not. In this paper it is argued that this paradox can be explained by analysing abusive ad hominem attacks as a mode of strategic manoeuvring which takes on a reasonable appearance in real life situations when it mimics, as it often does, legitimate critical reactions to authority argumentation. The hypothesis that abusive fallacies are seen as less unreasonable when they are presented as if they are critical questions pertaining to the argument scheme for authority argumentation than when they are clear cases was tested systematically in two experiments. The results of these experiments confirmed the hypothesis.
Frans H. van Eemeren, Bart Garssen & Bert Meuffels.
Human collective behavior can vary from calm to panicked depending on social context. Using videos publicly available online, we study the highly energized collective motion of attendees at heavy metal concerts. We find these extreme social gatherings generate similarly extreme behaviors: a disordered gaslike state called a mosh pit and an ordered vortexlike state called a circle pit. Both phenomena are reproduced in flocking simulations demonstrating that human collective behavior is consistent with the predictions of simplified models.
Source: Jesse L. Silverberg, Matthew Bierbaum, James P. Sethna, and Itai Cohen, Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 228701 (2013). (H/T Bwana_Mrefu)
Resistance to change has generally been understood as a result of personal experiences and assessments about the reliability of others. Accordingly, attempts are made to alter these factors in order to win support and overcome resistance. But this understanding ignores resistance as a socially constructed reality in which people are responding more to the background conversations in which the change is being initiated than to the change itself. This paper proposes that resistance to change is a function of the ongoing background conversations that are being spoken and which create the context for both the change initiative and the responses to it. In this context, resistance is not a personal phenomenon, but a social systemic one in which resistance is maintained by the background conversations of the organization. Successfully dealing with this source of resistance requires distinguishing the background conversations and completing the past.
Source. Jeffrey D. Ford, Laurie W. Ford, Randall T. McNamara, (2002) “Resistance and the background conversations of change”, Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 15 Iss: 2, pp.105 – 121.
By Thomas Homer-Dixon, Manjana Milkoreit, Steven J. Mock, Tobias Schröder, and Paul Thagard.
We describe and illustrate a new method of graphically diagramming disputants’ points of view called cognitive-affective mapping. The products of this method—cognitive-affective maps CAMs—represent an individual’s concepts and beliefs about a particular subject, such as another individual or group or an issue in dispute. Each of these concepts and beliefs has its own emotional value. The result is a detailed image of a disputant’s complex belief system that can assist in-depth analysis of the ideational sources of the dispute and thereby aid its resolution. We illustrate the method with representations of the beliefs of typical individuals involved in four contemporary disputes of markedly different type: a clash over German housing policy, disagreements between Israelis over the meaning of the Western Wall, contention surrounding exploitation of Canada’s bitumen resources, and the deep dispute between people advocating action on climate change and those skeptical about the reality of the problem.
[Source.; via PaulM]
Excessive Speech, Civility Norms, and the Clucking Theorem, by Barak Orbach & Frances R. Sjoberg, Connecticut Law Review, Vol. 44, No. 1, 2011.
The classic free-speech axiom is that the cure for bad speech is more speech. This Article considers the possible social costs of speech, focusing on speech strategies that impede and degrade change, even if the speech itself is socially acceptable. The Article introduces The Clucking Theorem, which states that human nature unnecessarily inflates the costs of processes related to proposed legal changes. Clucking is a form of externality – it is an action that inflates the social costs associated with discourse over a new or revised norm. It also alters transitions, degrades the quality of reforms, impedes certain changes, and facilitates undesirable transitions. This Article’s inquiry into the characteristics of clucking is supported by a qualitative study of debates and disputes over changes to backyard chicken laws in more than one hundred localities between 2007 and 2010. This study emphasizes that certain clucking characteristics are unrelated to the significance of the issue at stake, the size of the population, or the innovation in the proposed change. In synthesizing the study, this Article identifies five categories of individuals who engage in clucking: losers, winners, status quo enforcers, political opportunists, and human roosters. Finally, this Article stresses that civility norms and procedural rules are viable means to reduce the social costs of clucking.
via Excessive Speech, Civility Norms, and the Clucking Theorem by Barak Orbach, Frances R. Sjoberg :: SSRN.