- The politics of humour in the public sphere: cartoons, power and modernity in the first transnational humour scandal
- European Journal of Cultural Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 14 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This article analyses the Danish ‘cartoon crisis’ as a transnational ‘humour scandal’. While most studies conceptualize this crisis as a controversy about free speech or international relations, this article addresses the question why the crisis was sparked by cartoons. First, the article discusses the culturally specific ‘humour regime’ in which the cartoons were embedded. Second, it analyses the power dynamics of humour.Thirdly, it discusses how the cartoon crisis added a new element to the image of Muslims as completely Other and lacking in modernity: they have no sense of humour. Analysis of this controversy as humor scandal allows us, first, to identify its ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. Next, it underscores the emergence of a transnational public sphere. Finally, and most importantly, it highlights the politics of humour — a slippery, often exclusive mode of communication — in national and transnational public spheres.
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