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On the Limits of Oppositional Humor: The Turkish Political Context

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The present work analyzes the articulation of humor as an oppositional discourse in the Turkish political context, with particular focus on the current controversies between humorists and the Turkish government. It first deals with current debates between satirists and the government, showing how discourses of oppositional humor are created by the media. By pointing out the similarity among the descriptions and statements on the oppositional nature of humor made by some political satirists and intellectuals, the work questions the validity of these statements by looking at the interpretations of humor in different historical periods and cultural domains in Turkey. The final part of this work undertakes a textual analysis of the aforementioned depictions of the way in which humor challenges existing power structures, as conveyed by some of its producers. It highlights the contradictions of this articulation. Two conclusions are derived from this work. First, the oppositional nature of the humorist discourse represents only a partial and ideal reading of it; therefore it cannot be taken as universal. Second, the oppositional nature of the discourse of humor should be reconsidered and studied by specific cases and contexts.

Affiliations: 1: University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands Email:


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