Comic Power: Another Road Not Taken?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Inspired by the growing attention to the politics of comedy in the United States and elsewhere, this article asks what it would mean to think critically about relations of power mobilized through cheerfulness, humor, and laughter. The article shows that existing answers to this question are tainted by skepticism about the enduring contributions of comic acts, and it then goes on to suggest that we turn to an alternative trajectory in democratic theory, one that encourages us to focus on the empowering and pluralizing potential embedded in what I name “comic power.” The wager is that attention to the potential embedded in this power can give us new traction on the conditions of democracy more broadly understood. To show this, the article draws on two rarely paired resources—Spinoza’s philosophy of immanence and Dave Chappelle’s critique of racial discrimination—placing both of them in conversation with discussions about the mediations embedded in new media technologies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTheory & Event
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

ID: 135451695