Laughter Protest
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The Comical
Non-violent Resistance
Subversive Humor
Social Movements

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Alisievich, Y. (2022). Laughter Protest. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 4(4), 160-188.


The subject of this study is contemporary conceptions of laughter protest as it relates to trends in political communication and activism. Through conceptual and comparative analysis, we explore the role of the comical in social and political protest in order to formulate a kind of research framework for this type of resistance and to generalize models and tools for analyzing laughter protest practices and actions. Underlining the paradoxical nature of the comic – namely, its intention to preserve and simultaneously undermine the existing order – we show the specificity and functions of laughter in resistance, and what the optics of humor analysis in contemporary protest practices might be. The outcome of this research is a generalization of the functions and “methods of action” of the comical in political resistance, as well as key concepts and notions that enable us to interpret instances of the use of comic tactics by protesters. Thus, we classified identification, differentiation, control, and resistance as functions, while the list of concepts included play, carnival, nonviolence, cultural silencing, utopian imagination, and the optics of social movements. Using the example of interpretation in the DOXA’s “Auction of Words”, we examined the possibilities of the proposed framework of analysis. The article is addressed to researchers in various fields of humanitarian knowledge, as well as to a wide range of readers interested in the problems of activism, humor, and protest movements.
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