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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

Call for Papers: “#Sorrynotsorry: Social Psychological and Intergroup Underpinnings of Political Apologies”

11.10.2019, by Tina Keil in call for papers

Special Collection: International Review of Social Psychology; Submission deadline (abstract): December 1st, 2019


Guest Editors: Theofilos Gkinopoulos (University of Greenwich, United Kingdom), Juliette Schaafsma (University of Tilburg, Netherlands) and Thia Sagherian-Dickey (University of Tilburg, Netherlands)

In the aftermath of historical intergroup injustices, perpetrators seek to restore positive intergroup relations by offering a public apology. Public apologies can be a powerful tool in re-examining traumatic events and important facilitator of human interactions. Worldwide history abounds with examples of political apologies, with some scholars going so far as to refer to this period as the ‘Age of Apology’. Apology offer fulfils important psychological goals and is an outcome of socio-emotional and cognitive responses. Further empirical research has identified particular linguistic and structural features that contribute to the effectiveness of apologies, and to the perceived sincerity and trustworthiness of the apology giver, leading to forgiveness, reconciliation, transitional justice and other desired outcomes. Such features concentrate around acknowledgement that a wrong has been committed, an acceptance of responsibility by transgressors, an offer by transgressors to make an atonement for the committed wrong and reassurances by the transgressor that the wrong will not be intentionally repeated again. However, research to date has left some questions open, such as potential group differences in perceptions of apologies by different socioeconomic status groups or by victims / non victims, primary and secondary victims, and even bystanders. A nuanced understanding of the role that emotions play in the processes leading to political apologies is also needed. Additionally, a more fine-grained understanding of ideological factors such as victims’ sense of shared values and beliefs toward justice should add to the overall examination of public apologies. A critical look at the different roles of apologies is important for addressing the different facets of the construct – such as their restorative nature versus whether they sustain unequal power relations.

With this special issue, we greet ongoing quantitative and/or qualitative research on the intergroup nature of public apologies and the inter-group relations they entail. We seek to understand the political relations that are formed when political – as ‘ethical’ – leaders offer apologies and how this impacts their followers’ perceptions and judgements about them. Consistent with the scope of the Journal, we welcome research using a wide range of methodologies, regular research articles, short research notes, theoretical pieces or confirmatory reports.


The special issue will contain a maximum of 6 papers plus an introduction. Submitted papers must be original manuscripts, presenting one or more empirical studies that are not under consideration by any other outlet. The papers should be about 6000-7000 words including abstract, references, tables and acknowledgements. Please note that after the review process, the guest editors submit the entire content of the special issue to the chief editors who make the final acceptance decision (cf.

To be considered for this special issue, please submit a 500-word abstract to Theofilos Gkinopoulos (, Juliette Schaafsma ( and Thia Sagherian-Dickey ( by December 1st 2019. Authors need to include in their abstract submission whether their research was pre-registered and whether they commit to sharing their data. The Editors of the special issue will review the abstracts and invite submission of the full manuscript for the selected papers. The deadline for submission of the full manuscript is May 1st 2020.

Theofilos Gkinopoulos (University of Greenwich, United Kingdom)
Juliette Schaafsma (University of Tilburg, Netherlands)
Thia Sagherian-Dickey (Tilburg University, Netherlands)