Political parody and public culture

Robert Hariman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


Parody and related forms of political humor are essential resources for sustaining democratic public culture. They do so by exposing the limits of public speech, transforming discursive demands into virtual images, setting those images before a carnivalesque audience, and celebrating social leveling while decentering all discourses within the "immense novel" of the public address system. Parody culminates in modern laughter, which is the shock of delighted dislocation when mediation is revealed. That laughter provides a rhetorical education for engaged spectatorship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-272
Number of pages26
JournalQuarterly Journal of Speech
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Menexenus
  • Mikhail Bakhtin
  • Parody
  • Political Humor
  • Public Culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education


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