Gender and Political Apology : When the Patriarchal State Says “Sorry” book cover
1st Edition

Gender and Political Apology
When the Patriarchal State Says “Sorry”

ISBN 9780367610258
Published August 27, 2021 by Routledge
172 Pages

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Book Description

This book provides a much-needed gendered reading to the increasingly important practice of political apology.

Engaging in depth with two cases of interstate apologies for conflict-related sexual violence – Japan’s apologies for the South Korean "comfort women" and US apologies for the Abu Ghraib scandal – the author argues that political apologies are particularly "excitable" or uncontrollable forms of speech which are composed of and rearticulate historically constituted gender norms. In doing so, political apologies work to recognise and make visible particular gendered victims whilst simultaneously obscuring others. Through the concept of "legitimate victimhood", the author examines the performative ways in which political apologies (re)negotiate and (re)make embodied gendered identities. Ultimately, she argues that the ambivalent form of recognition offered by the performance of official apologies in these cases resulted in numerous unintended consequences, including opportunities for victims to demonstrate linguistic agencies. Political apologies for conflict-related sexual violence can therefore — indirectly — empower the gendered victims addressed.

This book will be of great interest to students, academics, and researchers in the fields of politics and international relations, women’s and gender studies, memory studies, victimology, transitional justice, human rights, and peace and conflict studies. It will also interest policymakers, practitioners, and campaign groups involved in such areas as justice for gender-based violence.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. The ‘Liberal’ Apology and Gender

3. ‘Excitable’ Apologies

4. Political Apology, Recognition, and ‘Legitimate’ Gendered Victimhood

5. The ‘Comfort Women’ and Apologies for Sexual Slavery

6. The Abu Ghraib Scandal and Apologies Within the Global War on Terror

7. Gendered Apologies: Conclusion

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Emma Dolan is a lecturer in Peace and Development Studies in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Her work is primarily concerned with themes of gender, peace, and conflict studies including political apologies, sexual violence, war commemoration, justice, and emotion. Her work has been published in such journals as International Feminist Journal of Politics and Gender, Place and Culture.