ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

A ‘stain on the […] otherwise good reputation of Denmark’: Rhetorical Agency and Rhetorical Citizenship in Fogh Rasmussen’s 2005 official apology

Open Panel

Abstract

This paper is a rhetorical critique of Fogh Rasmussen’s 2005 official apology to German refugees seeking asylum in Denmark during WWII who were turned away and thus condemned to a cruel fate in German captivity. The paper draws on theory from the fields of rhetoric (Geisler 2004, Lundberg and Gunn 2004, Jørgensen 2009, Villadsen 2011, Kock and Villadsen 2011), political science (Nobles 2008, Lind 2008), and sociology (Olick 2007). Methodically the paper draws on methods of close textual reading (Leff 2004), notions of intertextuality (Jasinski 2001a), and conceptually driven criticism (Jasinski 2001b). The paper consists of three parts: First a close reading of the text where the sections pertaining to official apology are analyzed and evaluated. Second, the speech is examined in its intertextual context with regard to the government’s strategy for memorializing the 60 anniversary of the end of the Nazi occupation of Denmark – with particular focus on a web site created for school children. Further, the speech is read up against a second speech held the day after in which Fogh Rasmussen addressed some of the public criticism launched against the nature of the collective memory promoted by the government. Third, in a conceptually oriented critical move, a theoretically based discussion of two central questions pertaining to the case at hand is undertaken: 1) the nature and limits of rhetorical agency and particularly how it is manifested in issues of mandate in official apologies, and 2) the ideological implications of the rhetorical citizenship performed by Rasmussen. (248 words) Key words: Official apology, collective memory, Fogh Rasmussen, rhetorical agency, rhetorical citizenship.