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How funny can Islam controversies be? Comedians defending their faiths on YouTube

journal contribution
posted on 03.10.2013, 12:15 by Fadi Hirzalla, Liesbet van Zoonen, Floris Muller
We analyze whether humor can release some of the tension in Islam controversies and open up new directions for dialogue. We do so in the context of Dahlgren’s civic cultures framework, asking whether humor can be a civic practice and how it is articulated with value conflicts. We examine the features of the humor performed in two comic vlogs on YouTube and the sentiments these vlogs evoked among their viewers. In one vlog, the comedy calls for interreligious acceptance, while in the other vlog comedy is used to “other” Muslims. The comments on both vlogs, however, comprise negative and positive sentiment in the same patterns, often expressed in an antagonistic style. These findings call for caution when contemplating the potential of humor to alleviate interreligious tensions and the prospect of the Internet to form a space for meaningful democratic deliberation, especially when dealing with topics as controversial as Islam.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Citation

HIRZALLA, F., VAN ZOONEN, L. and MULLER, F., 2013. How funny can Islam controversies be? Comedians defending their faiths on YouTube. Television and New Media, 14 (1), pp.46-61.

Publisher

© Sage

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publication date

2013

ISSN

1527-4764

Language

en