Burning Effigies with Bakhtinian Laughter

PHD RESEARCH ARTICLE PUBLISHED!

 
Fresh from the digital press:
an article in the peer-reviewed European Journal of Humour Research. The article explores the aspects of the carnivalesque in the burning or hanging of effigies as political protest. You can download it here: http://www.europeanjournalofhumour.org/index.php/ejhr/issue/view/11/showToc

The hanging or burning of effigies as an expression of dissent is a well-established genre of playful political protest. It is enacted in a variety of ways, accessing the conventions of various traditional rituals and social practices, and can function either as a progressive force demanding change, or repressively in seeking to enforce the existing order. Building on a close reading of media images of effigy protests from over the world, I relate the employed strategies of reversal and debasement and the grotesque aesthetics of these dummies to Bakhtin’s concept of the carnivalesque. I trace the different kinds of laughter that emerge during the effigy protests and explore the complicated relationship between laughter and violence inherent in these performed images of violent death.
 
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