The European Journal of Humour Research 2024-04-26T16:40:34+02:00 The Editorial Team Open Journal Systems <p>The EJHR is an open-access, academic journal published by <a title="Tertium" href=""><strong>Cracow Tertium Society for the Promotion of Language Studies</strong> </a>and endorsed by <a href="">The International Society for Humor Studies (ISHS)</a>. The EJHR publishes full research articles, shorter commentaries, which discuss ground-breaking or controversial areas, research notes, which provide details on the research project rationale, methodology and outcomes, as well as book reviews. The journal has a special focus on supporting PhD students and early career researchers by providing them with a forum within which to disseminate their work alongside established scholars and practitioners.</p> <p>The EJHR welcomes submissions that combine research and relevant applications as well as empirical studies detailing their usefulness to the study of humour. All contributions received (apart from book reviews) undergo a double-blind, peer-review process. In addition to established scholars within humor research, we invite those as yet unfamiliar with (or wary of) humor research to enter the discussion, especially based on less known or less covered material. The elaboration of joint methodological frameworks is strongly encouraged. For further details or inquiries you may contact the Editors.</p> <p>No charges are applied either for submitting, reviewing or processing articles for publication. </p> <p>The journal is now listed in important international <a href="">indexing bases</a> including <a href="">Scopus</a> and Scimago ranking :</p> <p><a title="SCImago Journal &amp; Country Rank" href=";tip=sid&amp;exact=no"><img src="" alt="SCImago Journal &amp; Country Rank" border="0" /></a> </p> <p><br /><img src="" alt="" width="180" height="100" /></p> <p>This publication is supported by the <a href="">CEES</a> and ELM <a href="">Scholarly Press.</a></p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="180" height="71" /> <img src="" alt="" width="180" height="81" /></p> 'Laughing at us' 2024-04-26T16:39:49+02:00 Sammy Basu <p><em>That Donald J. Trump won the US Presidential Election of 2016 defied the expectations of almost all seasoned observers of the US political system. Scholarly explanations stress structural factors that produced a substantial cohort of identity-vulnerable voters in tandem with Trump’s personal populist appeal. Trump benefitted from his political outsider status, celebrity familiarity, heteronormative masculinity, and unconventional rhetorical style including humour, all of which were amplified (and also mocked) by extensive mainstream news media coverage. Trump’s distinctive political use of the social media micro-blogging platform Twitter (now known as X) in engaging those cohorts has also been emphasized. The research presented here sits at the confluence of prior scholarly work on structural causes of identity vulnerability, on contestation involving humour, and on the enhanced political usage of Twitter. It examines the historical record of Trump’s tweets and re-tweets to see if and how the demarcation of his ‘humour brand’ affectively engaged his substantial Twitter followers and may thereby have contributed to his electoral success in 2016.</em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 The European Journal of Humour Research Humour versus dignity in the public sphere 2024-04-26T16:40:12+02:00 Nicholas Holm <p><em>Dignity is an important—perhaps even essential—aspect of a functioning public sphere: one where citizens can meet each other as equals and respectful antagonists in the exchange of different perspectives and reasoned opinions. This potentially poses a problem, however, for those who seek to invoke humour as a productive element of public conversation and deliberation. Even when humour is not explicitly critical, to treat a subject or person in comic terms is potentially to threaten their dignity in ways that could undermine their ability to meaningfully participate in the public sphere.</em></p> <p><em>In this article I argue that there is a need to more fully theorise ‘dignity’ in order to understand how humour circulates and functions in the public sphere. To that end, I first draw upon Axel Honneth’s political theory of recognition as the basis for an expanded conception of dignity that can be understood as the basis for claiming membership of a political community. This model is then tested through a consideration of the physical comedy of ‘pie-ing’ as an example of the elementary conflict between humour and dignity. Finally, the concept of comic indignity is explored as a way to consider which members of a public sphere can afford to suffer slights to their dignity, which cannot, and how this unequal vulnerability to humour might provide the basis for a new model for assessing the politics of humour in the public sphere.</em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 The European Journal of Humour Research Stand-up in the age of outrage 2024-04-26T16:40:23+02:00 Jonas Nicolaï Pieter Maeseele <p><em>In the context of an expanding societal awareness of social injustice and inequality, stand-up comedy is frequently caught in the crosshairs of discourses on free speech and political correctness. This study examines the evolving relationship between comedic critique and contemporary discourses on the boundaries of humour. Drawing on the thesis of the repoliticisation of humour, we analyse stand-up comedy’s reflexivity towards “wokeness” and “cancel culture” through the case of Flemish stand-up comedian Michael Van Peel. Our findings suggest that the complexity of the current political climate leaves Van Peel and his contemporaries disoriented in their attempts to surpass the boundaries of comedic critique. As a result, we argue for a reimagining of comedy's political potential beyond traditional interpretations as subversive critique, towards a view of stand-up comedy as a site of democratic resistance. Expanding views on the public role of comedians in response to contemporary socio-political issues can enhance the understanding of complex sociocultural dynamics and enable critical engagement with discourses on social justice and comedic free speech.</em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2023 The European Journal of Humour Research Humour scandals in the Finnish political public sphere in 1990–2020 2024-04-26T16:40:01+02:00 Juha Herkman Joonas Koivukoski <p><em>Humour is a part of contemporary mediated political struggles. At times, humour itself becomes politicised, turning into public controversies or humour scandals. This study explores how humour scandals have become intertwined with the Finnish political public sphere during the last three decades. Quantitative mapping, based on journalistic articles retrieved from two nationwide media, reveals that between 1990 and 2020, 26 national humour scandals in Finland were reported in the national public sphere for at least five days. The number of scandals increased exponentially, from just two such scandals in the 1990s to 15 in the 2010s. Our qualitative analysis of three humour scandals from different decades demonstrates how humour controversies relate to the changes in political and media environments and moral order. While in the 1990s and early 2000s humour scandals often dealt with clashes between popular TV satires and leading politicians, from the 2010s onwards the topics of humour scandals diversified, including issues related to political campaigning, artistic performances, and racism.</em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 The European Journal of Humour Research From mocking pastors to roasting politicians 2024-04-26T16:38:56+02:00 Ivo Nieuwenhuis <p><em>In this article, I argue that humour scandals are less a product of the changing media landscape of the last thirty years than recent studies seem to suggest. Instead, I point to the structural continuities that can be observed in Dutch humour scandals over the past seventy years. Although stemming from various sociocultural and media contexts, these scandals roughly follow the same ‘script’. I also show that humour scandals are not just mediated events, but markers of cultural conflict as well. Behind every scandal, a substantial moral, cultural, and often also social divide can be recognised, and the study of humour scandals can be used to better understand such divides. I substantiate both of these claims through a qualitative, contextual analysis of two Dutch humour scandals: the mocking of Catholic pastors by comedian Wim Sonneveld in a TV performance from 1963, and the roast of far-right politician Thierry Baudet by comedian Martijn Koning in a popular late night talk show from Spring 2021.</em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 The European Journal of Humour Research Comic innocence 2024-04-26T16:39:18+02:00 Dick Zijp <p class="Abstracttitle" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 24.0pt 0cm;"><em><span lang="EN-GB">In recent years, humour has re-entered the public sphere as a serious and potentially explosive topic of debate, giving rise to social conflicts and controversies. Paradoxically, however, humour has at the same time been passionately (and often aggressively) defended as innocent and harmless. I propose the notion of ‘comic innocence’ to make sense of this paradox. I take Dutch and American studies of racism, white innocence and racial ignorance as a starting point to construct a theory of comic innocence, which is tested through the analysis of responses in both legacy and social media to a serious opinion article on humour (written by the author of this paper), which sparked a scandal in the summer of 2021. I analyse 265 tweets and a small number of related newspaper articles and blog posts to demonstrate the respondents’ “humour ideologies”. I argue that, in the context of the “re-politicisation of humour”, those who defend humour as innocent mobilise and re-articulate three older ideas on humour. First, they emphasise the overall positive psychological, social and political functions and effects of humour. Second, they believe that humour should be protected against a ‘woke’ culture of high sensitivity and censorship. Third, they argue that humour research is a joke, and humour scholars lack a sense of humour. The humour scholar appears in this debate as the most important source of danger: a humourless, left-wing scientist keen on curtailing and censoring humorous expression.</span></em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2023 The European Journal of Humour Research Liquid racism in Greek online satirical news 2024-04-26T16:40:34+02:00 Villy Tsakona <p><em>The present study explores the infiltration of racism in humorous texts which at first sight appear to have antiracist intentions, in particular in satirical news coming from popular Greek websites and targeting majority people for their racist practices towards migrants. The analysis reveals that distinguishing between antiracist and racist interpretations is not an easy or straightforward matter: humour seems to blur the boundary between racism and antiracism. In this context, the concept of </em>liquid racism<em> (Weaver, 2016) is exploited to account for the ambiguities of humorous discourse when it involves racist and antiracist meanings. Furthermore, given that this paper is part of a special issue on “Humour and the public sphere”, the latter </em><em>understood </em><em>in Habermas’s (1989/1962) sense, I will venture some observations concerning the (in)compatibility between Habermas’s conceptualisation of the public sphere and humour/satire. Perhaps a broader and more inclusive definition of the public sphere than the one initially proposed by Habermas is called for, which will allow for the ambiguities of satirical humour.</em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 The European Journal of Humour Research From London Bridge to the Finsbury Park Mosque 2024-04-26T16:39:39+02:00 Nikita Lobanov <p><em>The former Twitter (now called ‘X’) is a social media platform characterized by an intense exchange of posts by users on political themes. These posts can indicate the evolution of a social phenomenon around a pivotal event. The overarching theme of this paper is to observe and examine the posts of Twitter users following the London Bridge terror attack on June 3rd, 2017, and following another attack against the Finsbury Park Mosque on June 19th of the same month. By means of a content analysis of a robust database of posts collected from the Twitter platform I was able to observe the reactions of radical right users during the attacks and reflect upon how hate was played out in terms of language and emotions. Despite the inevitable violence of these attacks, I detected the presence of humour in tweets as well as remarks that were predictably characterized by both physical and moral disgust. All tweets examined displayed at least one of Haidt’s Moral Foundations. My hypothesis is that humour too is a moral phenomenon which can exaggerate human behaviour.</em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 The European Journal of Humour Research Possibilities and limits of political humour in a hybrid regime 2024-04-26T16:39:08+02:00 Anniina Hyttinen <p><!-- [if gte mso 11]><w:PermStart w:id="1051476577" w:edGrp="everyone"/><![endif]--></p> <p class="Abstractcontentandkeywords"><em><span lang="EN-GB">This article focuses on the Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog Party (MKKP), which can be defined as a joke party. MKKP uses humour to criticise the corruption flourishing around the governing party Fidesz as well as its simplified and racist form of political communication. However, MKKP’s critical stance extends to Hungarian politicians and the political system in general.</span></em></p> <p class="Abstractcontentandkeywords"><em><span lang="EN-GB">This visual ethnographic research focuses on the activities that MKKP organised during national days in Hungary between 2017 and 2022, which included a space launch, a peace march and an alternative national day celebration on 20 August. The events can be defined as parody performances. The field material is complemented by a semi-structured interview with the party activists. MKKP’s humour is critical and revealing in nature, aiming to expose the powerholders’ agenda. However, instead of ridiculing, MKKP’s humour is primarily corrective and supportive. As such, it has the potential to alleviate polarisation. In MKKP’s activism, creativity and cynicism exist in close proximity to one another. Humour also functions as a powerful antidote against simplified populist truths that rely on fearmongering and enemy images. In a hybrid regime, absurd humour can be used to reveal the inherent absurdities of the political reality. MKKP has occasionally succeeded in entering the state-controlled public sphere. During recent years, the party has started to address societal matters more seriously, without abandoning its roots as a humour party.</span></em></p> <p class="Abstractcontentandkeywords"><!-- [if gte mso 11]><w:PermEnd w:id="1051476577"/><![endif]--></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 The European Journal of Humour Research Polarised but similar 2024-04-26T16:39:28+02:00 Liisi Laineste Anastasiya Fiadotava <p><em>Conflict divides society by bringing out opposing opinions and social, political and cultural difference. Humour becomes a way to disseminate and comment on opinions as well as to mark divisions in the public sphere. Even though humour is ambiguous in nature, its stance (Shifman 2014) is made evident through content and/or context. In cases where the content of pro- and anti-democratic humour is similar, meta-discourse decides the stance. </em></p> <p><em>In this article we look at the (mainly online) humour that has emerged as a reaction to politically polarising conflicts. We use as examples the 2020 protests in Belarus and the Russian war in Ukraine. We analyse common and unusual motifs in pro- and anti-democratic humour born from these conflicts and discuss the sources used to create this humour. The results show that anti-democratic humour has fewer layers of reference and is less subtle than pro-democratic humour as the latter needs to circumvent censorship. Pro-democratic humour makes ample use of self-irony in contrast to the more rigid and offensive position taken in anti-democratic humour. Pro-democratic humour also needs to be more inclusive as it often spreads within a wider, more global audience catering for wider tastes in humour.</em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 The European Journal of Humour Research The Deadly Drawing 2024-04-17T14:14:22+02:00 Steve Michiels <p><em>This article, consisting of 31 illustrations with annotation, presents the result of an artistic research project revolving around the question of how to use one’s power as a creator of humour. The reader/viewer is presented with insight into the life and thinking of cartoonist/artistic researcher Self-reflexive Steve, who engages in self-investigation because he is conscious of the virtues as well as the dangers of humour. In a globalised, diverse, and democratic world, it is important to consider different sensibilities within society. Self-reflexive Steve always regarded humour as a form of connecting communication, because when people are able to laugh together, they understand each other. However, Self-reflexive Steve increasingly wonders whether he has achieved his set targets, as he primarily acts for a captive audience and creates his humorous drawings from a safe stand-off in his ivory tower. His publications are always endorsed by the editorials of the magazines he is working for and this within a society where humour makers are protected and esteemed. However, in today’s society humour is frequently used to divide. As a cartoonist/researcher, Self-reflexive Steve explores the limits of his medium, deliberately going off the rails at times. As a humour maker he seeks to reclaim the right to use fantasy, lies, distortions, exaggerations and wild associations from those in power who deploy these qualities of humour to divide and rule. </em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 The European Journal of Humour Research Book review 2023-12-27T10:29:20+01:00 Aleksandar Takovski <p><em>Book review</em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2023 The European Journal of Humour Research Book review 2023-12-13T02:09:24+01:00 M.W. Shores <p><em>Book review</em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2023 The European Journal of Humour Research Book review 2024-01-22T01:25:35+01:00 Mark John Rolfe <p><em>Book review</em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 The European Journal of Humour Research Book review 2023-12-30T13:57:44+01:00 Arie Sover <p><em>Judaism and Humour from the Silent Generation to Millennials</em></p> <p><em>Jennifer Caplan has produced a new book about Jewish humour in the United States. She discusses the development of Jewish humour in that country chronologically, with reference to the social changes experienced by the Jews over the years, and with reference to the Jews’ perception of themselves vis-à-vis the general American society.</em></p> <p><em>Her main question is whether the attitude of the humour creators toward the Jews and Judaism is a valuable essence, or only a hollow cover from which a type of humour can be extracted. Caplan analyses four generations of Jewish humour creators: the “Silent Generation,” 1925-1945; the “Baby Boomers,” 1946-1965; “Generation X,” 1966-1979; and the “Millennial Generation,” 1980-1995. Her research covers literature, film, television, and social networks. In each field, she presents examples of humour regarding Jewish rituals or Judaism and follows how the approach to these topics changed across the generations.</em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2023 The European Journal of Humour Research Book review 2023-12-22T12:00:13+01:00 Nikos Koulopoulos <p><em>Book review </em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2023 The European Journal of Humour Research Book review 2024-01-24T02:19:31+01:00 Kerry Mullan <p><em>Book review</em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 The European Journal of Humour Research Book review 2024-01-21T23:38:07+01:00 Marijana Prodanovic <p><em>Book review</em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 The European Journal of Humour Research Humour and the public sphere 2024-04-26T16:38:45+02:00 Giselinde Kuipers Dick Zijp <p><em>In this article, which serves as an introduction to a special issue on humor and the public sphere, we argue that humor has become increasingly central to public discourse in the 21<sup>st</sup> century, and that this necessitates a rethinking of the relationship between humor and the public sphere in contemporary democracies. In the article, we bring together the dispersed academic literature on humor and the public sphere, and show how humor and comedy scholars have engaged with the long-standing academic debate around this contested concept, which was coined by Jürgen Habermas in 1962. We also introduce the eleven contributions to this special issue and situate them within this ongoing debate.</em></p> 2024-04-26T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 The European Journal of Humour Research