remorse-manuscript-socialandlegalstudies-websiteedition.doc

On the one hand what makes a show of remorse credible

Info icon This preview shows pages 8–10. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
suspicion than to aggravate it. On the one hand, what makes a show of remorse credible is the belief that what is demonstrated originates from inner experience beyond the realm of appearances or any other artifice- that what is shown corresponds to what is felt. On the other hand, the showing of remorse is also a communication before an audience that is in a position to bestow favors or withhold benefits. The coerciveness of law casts doubt even on the ‘deep acting’, to borrow a metaphor from Hochschild’s work ( 2003, p.87) that purports to make the showing of remorse more credible than the offering of apology. Even those demonstrations that appear most reliable and compelling are subject to retrospective interpretation as spurious or unconvincing as are those moral performances that appear least convincing also subject to contestation.. For every claim that an offender feels and has demonstrated genuine remorse, there is a counterclaim that what purports to be spontaneous and real is belied by a desire to reap the benefits that are attached to it or to avoid the more dire consequences when remorse is judged to be absent. Part of the task of the following analysis will be to demonstrate that this ambiguity in the attribution of persons as remorseful or unremorseful is not a defect of evaluation but part of evaluation. 8
Image of page 8

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
In its most quotidian form, remorse is the credit given to those who admit to guilt for the crimes and other delicts for which they have been charged. Simple, behavioral, and unexamined the category would remain if it did not play so crucial a role in the legal forum in crediting or discrediting character. But it is through remorse that the world of transgressors is divided not just into those who transgress but into those whose misconduct will come to define their character and those whose character will lead us to redefine their misconduct. The result is an ever expanding narrative of what makes a claim to remorse credible or not and what expressions of character are perceived by the court as separating the offender from the act or aligning the offender with the act. To do justice to this wealth of material, I have identified several analytically and empirically distinct usages of the concept in terms of how it is rendered in judicial or adjudicative speech. First, there is the equating of remorse with the admission of responsibility and here I seek to bring out judicial expectations over what is sufficient to qualify as an admission and what is not. Second, there is the showing of remorse through gestural expressions or what Goffman has referred to as ‘body glosses’(Goffman, 1972, 11) in which the offender is judged as credible or not depending on the feelings that are displayed. Here I look at judicial expectations concerning what an offender should feel and should express if their display of remorse is to be accredited as real and spontaneous as opposed to contrived or strategic. Finally, I look at a third major indicia of remorse- whether and in what way the offender has undergone personal transformation. In this part
Image of page 9
Image of page 10
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern