‘Are we laughing at the same?’ A contrastive analysis of Covid-related memes in Czech, Chinese and Spanish.



Rok publikování 2022
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis Humour is often employed as a coping mechanism (e.g. gallows humour), with therapeutic effects on those producing and receiving it (Christopher 2015; Samson and Gross 2012). This buffering effect of humour might explain why, at the time of an international pandemics like Covid-19, human beings, independently of their cultural origin, have resorted to humour as a common means to alleviate uncertainty and fear, to enhance feelings of connection and bonding with others, and to remind others of our “virtual” co-presence (Yus 2021). The proliferation of Covid-related humour (e.g. memes, jokes, Twitter parody accounts, etc.) has also led to a wide range of studies, with special attention to memes (Chiodo et al., 2020; Jensen et al., 2020; Mayer and Mayer, 2021; Mpofu, 2021; Ponton and Mantello, 2021; Vinokurova, 2021). Covid memes have also been widely analysed, including not only English but also other languages like Polish (Chłopicki and Brzozowska, 2021; Norstrom and Sarna, 2021), Spanish (Balarezo-López 2020; Flecha et al. 2021); or Romanian (Stefani 2020). However, contrastive studies are more limited, especially when comparing very different languages and cultural realities as Chinese, Czech and Spanish. This paper aims to redress this imbalance by analysing the functions of humour in a corpus of 300 Covid-memes (100 memes per language). Taking Martin et al.’s (2003) and Miczko et al.’s (2009) four dimensions of (mal)adaptive humour as a point of departure, we intend to answer the following questions: (i) what dimension(s) of humour are predominant in each language? (ii) what actors do the memes in the three countries target? and (ii) to what extent can these preferences relate to cultural differences/similarities? Applying a mixed-method approach, results show that there seems to be a global preference for affiliative humour while aggressive (and self-deprecating) humour appears to be more culturally bound, with a higher frequency in the Czech and Spanish datasets in contrast to the Chinese one. Likewise, the Czech and Spanish dataset share a significantly higher number of common (even if glocalised) frames, which might be pointing to a more European, Western type of humour in comparison to the Chinese approach (Jiang et al. 2019).
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