Mid Sweden University

miun.sePublications
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Jester, journalist, or just jerk? The roles of political comedians in societal debate
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Media and Communication Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3015-7423
2021 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Where does the political comedian fit on the spectrum of societal debate? Comedy has gained legitimacy in academia in recent decades as a non-serious communication form worth taking seriously. But in the personalized, high-choice hybrid media landscape, what roles do comedians inhabit? This dissertation explores this topic via five studies detailed in articles produced for publication in scientific journals. The articles employ frameworks such as humor functions, role conceptions, media framing, boundary work, non-deliberative media discourse, and moral theory, and utilize qualitative content analysis, quantitative content analysis, and qualitative interviews, to investigate empirical examples collected from Swedish and Finnish contexts. The dissertation also includes an introductory chapter that summarizes and discusses the results of the five studies and presents the empirical and theoretical contributions of the dissertation. 

Several roles of political comedians are introduced, based on political intent and their tendency to challenge norms, where the main ones have been established as Unifier, Advocate, Entertainer, Explainer, Provocateur, Questioner, and Eye-opener. The roles should be seen as role performance elements that are somewhat fluid and contextual. In addition, three role clusters, or broad comedic dispositions, are discussed. The first is the jester-type comedian, represented by the Entertainer, the Unifier, and the Advocate. These comedians are practitioners of a more benign, light-hearted form of political comedy, and they focus on creating mirth and social bonding. 

The genre of journalistic news satire is defined and explored as the second role cluster, and the genre is represented by the Unifier, who aims to connect people in laughter, the Explainer, who wants to explain complex news issues from a specific point of view, and the Questioner, who audits power and challenges groupthink. Finally, the third role cluster is personified by the troublemaker or jerk, who either enjoys being a Provocateur simply for provocation itself, takes on the role of persistent Questioner, or, if the political intent is stronger, embodies the Eye-opener, aspiring to influence the audience to see things differently.

Contexts, implications, and limitations are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University , 2021. , p. 34
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 350
Keywords [en]
Political comedy, satire, role conceptions, framing, humor studies, entertainment
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-43001ISBN: 978-91-89341-22-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-43001DiVA, id: diva2:1593188
Public defence
2021-10-08, C312, Holmgatan 10, Sundsvall, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2021-09-13 Created: 2021-09-10 Last updated: 2021-09-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Making news funny: Differences in news framing between journalists and comedians
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Making news funny: Differences in news framing between journalists and comedians
2021 (English)In: Journalism - Theory, Practice & Criticism, ISSN 1464-8849, E-ISSN 1741-3001, Vol. 22, no 6, p. 1540-1557Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Classic agenda setting and news framing research focuses on traditional media actors: journalists, political figures, professional communicators. However, the personalization of politics and journalism, as well as the rise of social media, is creating new spaces for other actors, like comedians. In the separation of vertical media (media which are still aiming for a wide audience with content of general relevance) and horizontal media (more specific media actors building a community around the content they produce), comedians can be considered actors in horizontal media, who help provide the community agenda. This study compares how comedians in horizontal media frame news and current affairs with how journalists in vertical media frame similar news. The study is performed via a quantitative content analysis of Swedish political comedy and traditional Swedish news coverage, with a focus on the emerging podcast medium. It shows that the comedic framing is dramatically more personal and emotional. It is also more thematic and more often on a societal level, while the journalistic news framing is more episodic and on an individual level. The comedic framing is also more focused on issues of political figures and processes, more negative, and more inclusive of different types of societal actors when compared to the news reporting of vertical media.

Keywords
Agenda setting, horizontal media, influencers, news framing, news journalism, opinion leaders, podcasts, political comedy
National Category
Social Sciences Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-35389 (URN)10.1177/1464884918820432 (DOI)000652833100015 ()2-s2.0-85059315516 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2019-01-07 Created: 2019-01-07 Last updated: 2021-09-10Bibliographically approved
2. Producing Journalistic News Satire: How Nordic Satirists Negotiate a Hybrid Genre
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Producing Journalistic News Satire: How Nordic Satirists Negotiate a Hybrid Genre
2020 (English)In: Journalism Studies, ISSN 1461-670X, E-ISSN 1469-9699, Vol. 21, no 6, p. 731-747Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Political satire is an elusive hybrid genre that through its evolution over the past two decades has gained both media and scholarly interest. Inspired by American TV shows like Last Week Tonight, a new wave of more journalistic news satire has spread across the world. Studies have scrutinized its contents and effects, but the production side has remained largely uncovered. This study applies the concepts of genre and boundary work to analyze how advocates of this practice relate themselves to news journalism and previous satire. Based on qualitative interviews with 16 key production team members of four topical satire programs, we investigate how Nordic news satirists interpret their aims and work routines. We argue that both Finnish and Swedish news satirists embrace some of the traditional values of journalism such as striving for factuality, political relevance, and monitoring the powerful while they simultaneously aim for more emotional, opinionated, and exaggerated expression than in regular news reporting. The implications of this hybrid, “neomodern” ethos are examined.

Keywords
Satire, infotainment, comedy, interview studies, political humor, hybridity
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-38400 (URN)10.1080/1461670X.2020.1720522 (DOI)000512931500001 ()2-s2.0-85079067886 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2020-02-08 Created: 2020-02-08 Last updated: 2021-09-10Bibliographically approved
3. De-contextualisation fuels controversy: the double-edged sword of humour in a hybrid media environment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>De-contextualisation fuels controversy: the double-edged sword of humour in a hybrid media environment
2021 (English)In: The European Journal of Humour Research, Vol. 9, no 3, p. 49-64Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Humour has a unique way of delineating social boundaries, and comedy can function as a double-edged sword; it can strengthen bonds and bring people together, or divide through provocation and violation of social norms. As a consequence, humour controversies are telling events that contain the possibility of highlighting cultural and political sensibilities—even more in the current political landscape, with increasing media fragmentation. This study analysed four humour functions through the theoretical lens of media framing, via three cases of humorous content that caused controversies in the Swedish news media. These cases were one divisive radio roast of a politician, one TV satire segment that was received as racist, and one audio podcast with young women who challenged a Swedish political consensus climate. Framing is the power of media to select and highlight certain aspects of issues, and by extension, shape public opinion. By subjecting the media coverage of these three controversies to a qualitative content analysis, the framing was examined and discussed in the light of four humour functions: identification, clarification, enforcement, and differentiation (Meyer 2000). Furthermore, the study examined the media context and the role it played in the framing of the controversies. One main finding was that the most uniting humour function of identification could be transformed into the most dividing humour function of differentiation through a shift in media context.

Keywords
political comedy, humour functions, framing, humour scandals, contextualisation
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-42999 (URN)10.7592/EJHR2021.9.3.523 (DOI)2-s2.0-85120060046 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-09-10 Created: 2021-09-10 Last updated: 2021-12-08
4. The democratic roles of satirists
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The democratic roles of satirists
2021 (English)In: Popular Communication, ISSN 1540-5702, E-ISSN 1540-5710, Vol. 19, no 4, p. 281-294Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the high-choice media landscape, satire has the potential to help news and politics break through information apathy barriers and reinvigorate democratic debate. While scholarly attention to the genre of satire has increased, interest in satirists themselves has been sparse. Using a theory of non-deliberative forms of public discourse and the idea of role conceptions, this study presents an analysis of interviews with Swedish satirists working in broadcasting media. Results showed that being Eye-openers and Questioners – meaning providing alternative perspectives and problematizing societal norms – were the primary contributions of satire, according to satirists. There were differing roles to take on when it came to social bonding and solidarity: Unifier, where the aim was to be bridge-building in a polarized debate, and Divider, where the main focus was to inspire critical thinking and foster independence from consensus. The role elements Reporter, Explainer and Solver were also introduced and discussed.

Keywords
political satire, comedy, deliberative democracy, role conception, public debate, political humor
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-42138 (URN)10.1080/15405702.2021.1929995 (DOI)000656349500001 ()2-s2.0-85107380727 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-06-04 Created: 2021-06-04 Last updated: 2021-09-29Bibliographically approved
5. Moral Transgressors vs. Moral Entrepreneurs: The Curious Case of Comedy Accountability in an Era of Social Platform Dependence
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Moral Transgressors vs. Moral Entrepreneurs: The Curious Case of Comedy Accountability in an Era of Social Platform Dependence
2021 (English)In: Journal of Media Ethics: Exploring Questions of Media Morality, ISSN 2373-6992, E-ISSN 2373-700X, Vol. 36, no 4, p. 220-234Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Comedy can hold political actors accountable, for instance through satire. But what kind of moral negotiation concerns comedians? Utilizing an understanding of accountability as a dynamic of interaction between media actors and the values of their audience, this study explores the concept of comedy accountability, combining qualitative interviews with case study analysis. Five ethical values central to comedy accountability are proposed: truth-telling, freedom of speech, order and cohesion, human dignity and equality, and nonmaleficence. Results show the values to be highly present both in media commentary and in the claims of comedians, with an emphasis on freedom of speech and nonmaleficence for defenders of controversial comedy, and an emphasis on human dignity and equality and nonmaleficence for protesters of controversial comedy. The negotiation of these values happens predominantly within the market frame of accountability, with defenders also using legal-regulatory and professional responsibility arguments while protesters use public responsibility arguments.

National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-42928 (URN)10.1080/23736992.2021.1967158 (DOI)000686804500001 ()2-s2.0-85113732237 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-09-02 Created: 2021-09-02 Last updated: 2021-10-21Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

Introductory chapter(1897 kB)860 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 1897 kBChecksum SHA-512
1345c1bd45fb978678c20bb6ac894f0bd73507ea0833db2fc66ec6bbcea609dc6c70d7fdfac96fccfe690fdd67a26c6534610510392ca68e2d944c3a9d60d9ec
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Authority records

Ödmark, Sara

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Ödmark, Sara
By organisation
Department of Media and Communication Science
Media and Communications

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 861 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

isbn
urn-nbn
Total: 4482 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf