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Clashing Taboos: Danish Cartoons, the Life of Brian and Public Diplomacy

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The Danish cartoons' controversy of 2006-2008 was not a unique storm that has fortunately passed over the world into history. It exhibited reactions that had much in common with previous transnational disputes involving satire, such as the movie Life of Brian and Holocaust cartoons, but there is now the potential for global communications to accelerate and exacerbate such clashes. The media amplify clashes between the various actors and the taboos involved in such disputes. There is also a 'dialogue of the deaf', in which political elites are more concerned with speaking to their own constituencies or refuse to withdraw from problematic statements and policies rather than engaging in dialogue. Such discursive conflict has implications for transnational democracy and public diplomacy.

Affiliations: 1: School of Social Sciences and International Studies, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia


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