The Responsibility and Abuse of Satire

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Mads Skov Mathiesen
In the wake of the shootings in the offices of Charlie Hebdo on January 7th 2015, there has been a large and vivid debate about freedom of speech, self-censorship, and democratic principles. In relation to this debate, there have been many commentaries about Charlie Hebdo as a publication, where several people have pointed towards the publication as being overtly racist. The now murdered cartoonists have always maintained that they held a secular, anti-racist, and anti-authoritarian agenda, so in this thesis I set out to examine what it is that makes some people call the publication racist.
I investigate this matter through the use of a critical discourse analysis, with semiotic influences in my analyses of specific controversial Charlie Hebdo cartoons. I also incorporate various theories on satire and humor in order to gain a better perspective on the political motifs of political cartoons.
I look at three different types of texts; a speech, a blog, and a newspaper editorial, who have the same theme in common, that they are highly critical towards Charlie Hebdo and see it as a racist institution.
My findings include common themes and rhetorical tools used to portray Charlie Hebdo in a negative light, and a discussion about the implications of a widespread discourse which states that Charlie Hebdo are engaging in racist propagation.
SpecialisationChina Area Studies
Publication date31 May 2015
Number of pages160,982
ID: 213342224