Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Antonio de Velasco

Committee Member

Sandra Sarkela

Committee Member

Gray Matthews

Committee Member

Sarah Potter


One of the most common frameworks used within the genre of apologia is Benoit's Theory of Image Repair. Using its associated typology, the framework enables scholars to examine apologetic texts and extrapolate potential rhetorical strategies in an effort to evaluate the success or failure of the apology. While the theory has expanded our knowledge on the rhetoric of apology, its use over time has become formulaic, and its findings do not seek to enhance our understanding of this rhetorical device. With this understanding, this dissertation attempts to provide a new approach to the genre of apologia that enhances and expands our understanding of the rhetorical complexities of the rhetoric of apology. It begins by contextualizing the history of the genre by providing an appropriate background. It is here that I conceptualize a new approach, one that emphasizes the strengths of the genre and recognize the complexities of apology: Identity Reconstruction. Using this approach, this dissertation examines three different cases where high-ranking elected American political officials were embroiled in scandals that had both personal and political ramifications. It is within this approach that we can understand that the rhetoric of apology is not simply a series of strategies but instead is a journey of reconstructing a public identity.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.