Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki
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900-1490 EUR Learn more
The course is designed for master’s and doctoral students of social sciences, media and communication studies, political science, sociology, journalism, cultural studies, and arts.
Humour, politics and the media are intertwined in many different ways. Publicity of politics is more entertaining-oriented than before, and the world of entertainment deals with politics more explicitly. This course explores how politicians, advertisers, activists, satirists, and we as audiences use humour to make sense of topical issues and our lives. The rising significance of promotional cultures, the internet and social media, as well as the so-called post-truth politics are explored in order to provide an overview on the politics of humour in today’s hybrid media landscape.
The course offers lectures, group work and individual assignments to analyse contemporary mediated humor from various perspectives.
During the course the students will learn the basic concepts and theories for understanding contemporary mediated humour. Through classical theories of humour the student can identify cognitive, semantic and psychological functions of humour, whereas perspectives of sociology, political science and communication studies provide means to analyse the social functions of mediated humour.
After completing the course the students will be able to analyse complex empirical cases of mediated humour performances and texts. They will understand how particular historical, cultural, political and technological contexts provide frames for humorous texts and their interpretation. The students will also acknowledge the ambiguous nature of humour, its paradoxical consequences and the conflicting interpretations it might foster.
Team work, discussions and presentations will allow the students to develop their social skills in a multicultural environment. Presentations and individual work also develop analytical and rhetorical skills needed in academic settings.
The course format includes a pre-course assignment, lectures, visits to and by practitioners, reading and group discussions, and an individual assignment.
The grading scale is 1 to 5 based on the pre-course assignment (25%), reading and group discussions (25%) and an essay or a research project in group (50%).