All that is Solid Collapses into Giggles: Examining the Political Aesthetics of Contemporary Humour

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Comedy book series (PSCOM)


This chapter builds upon the case studies of the previous section as the basis for political aesthetic theory of contemporary humour, with a particular focus upon the limitations and oversights of the currently dominant accounts of humour and politics identified in the first section. Drawing on the critical aesthetic tradition of Cultural Marxism in conjunction with the aesthetic theory of Jacques Rancière, this chapter presents a political aesthetic theory of humour understood as a terrain of potential politics that cannot be reduced to a triumphal form of disruption and dissent. Instead, this chapter argues that the commonalities between the different modes of contemporary humour can be understood in terms of the production of radical that undermines the obviousness and clarity of systems of knowledge and meaning. An aesthetic expression of critique without limits or purpose, contemporary humour is compatible with dominant liberal political only to a limited extent beyond which it challenges all stable codes and rules that constitute a social and political order.


Political Aesthetics Contemporary Witnesses Cultural Marxism Aesthetic Logic Absurd Humour 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of English and Media StudiesMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

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