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Historical apologies as acts of symbolic inclusion – and exclusion?

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Title: Historical apologies as acts of symbolic inclusion – and exclusion?;
Reflections on institutional apologies as politics of cultural citizenship
Author: Löfström, Jan
Citation: Löfström , J 2011 , ' Historical apologies as acts of symbolic inclusion – and exclusion? : Reflections on institutional apologies as politics of cultural citizenship ' , Citizenship studies. , vol 15 , no. 1 , pp. 93-108 .
Belongs to series: Citizenship studies.
ISSN: 1362-1025
Abstract: Institutional apologies for historical injustices can be conceived as acts of symbolic inclusion directed to people whose collective experiences and memories of the past have not been recognized in the hegemonic narratives of the past. However, in this article it is argued that such apologies also have exclusionary potential as vehicles of symbolic politics of citizenship in that they may designate the apologizing community, so that it effectively excludes cultural ‘aliens’, like migrants, from the community of ‘remedial’ citizens. The article suggests a crucial point is the rhetoric shifts when one is appealing to both cultural and political solidarity, as when apologizing in the name of the state but simultaneously invoking ‘our’ nation and ‘our’ history. Thus, the increasing number of institutional historical apologies is not necessarily incompatible with the trend of reinforcing the symbolic boundaries around ‘our’ historical–cultural communities that has been visible recently, e.g. in the demands for cultural canons and citizenship tests in many Western societies.
Peer review status: Peer reviewed
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/36256
Date: 2011

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