Publication details [#60962]

Cheng, Martha S. 2016. The sliding scales of repentance. Understanding variation in political apologies for infidelity. Journal of Argumentation in Context 5 (2) : 157–171.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This paper investigates the apologies of four US politicians whose marital infidelities were made public. The paper notes the variations in the use of religious language, representations of the transgressions, and metadiscourse. These variations can be calibrated to political ethos, the nature of the transgression, and the amount of repair work required. Thus, generic qualities of the personal political apology are best interpreted as existing on a sliding scale relative to the situation.