Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Does Humor On The Internet Mold Political Thinking?

Date:
March 11, 2009
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Humor is a powerful communications tool with potential political implications at various levels of society, as the recent Danish political cartoon representations of the Prophet Mohammad and the political repercussions and resulting economic boycotts demonstrated. A new article looks at humor as an important form of popular culture in the creation of geopolitical worldviews.

Jokes are not merely a source of popular enjoyment and creativity; they also provide insights into how societies work and what people think. Humor is so powerful it can help shape geopolitical views worldwide, according to Professor Darren Purcell and his team from the University of Oklahoma in the US.

Related Articles


Their study of humor including the analysis of two Achmed the Dead Terrorist skits, has recently been published online in Springer's GeoJournal.

Humor is a powerful communications tool with potential political implications at various levels of society, as the recent Danish political cartoon representations of the Prophet Mohammad and the political repercussions and resulting economic boycotts demonstrated. Purcell and colleagues' paper looks at humor as an important form of popular culture in the creation of geopolitical worldviews.

The authors use 'disposition theory' - a framework that allows them to understand who will regard which content as funny, and how derisive humor can be seen as amusing - to examine particular types of humor in texts which reflect society's concerns, developments and relationships, and by extension, the geopolitical implications of these texts. With an emphasis on social context, the theory suggests that the appreciation of humor is dependent, in part, on whether one holds a positive or negative attitude, or disposition, toward the object of humor.

Purcell and colleagues analyze two stand-up comedy routines performed by American ventriloquist Jeff Dunham. The skits center on the character of Achmed the Dead Terrorist, an unsuccessful suicide bomber. The humor plays on anti-Arab/Muslim sentiment. Dunham uses his audiences' disposition towards terrorists to get laughs, while at the same time challenging his audience members to look at their own views of terrorism, Islam, and American efforts in Iraq.

Purcell and colleagues show that disposition theory is useful to help place humor as a fluid, global phenomenon shared through various social networks via the Internet. Thanks to new communication technologies including YouTube.com, audiences around the world are engaged and can participate. The technology takes participants seriously by providing a point of entry where they can put forward their views of the world. This amplifies the potential impact of any geopolitical text.

They conclude that "the diffusion of humor with geopolitical content to a global viewing audience, via personal networks spanning multiple scales, forces us to consider the role of individuals (via forwarding and dissemination) as producers and reproducers of geopolitical codes and active participants in constructing enemies and threats, even in the guise of a two-foot tall puppet."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Does Humor On The Internet Mold Political Thinking?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090311085317.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2009, March 11). Does Humor On The Internet Mold Political Thinking?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090311085317.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Does Humor On The Internet Mold Political Thinking?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090311085317.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins