The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 11, No 1 (2023)

Beyond laughter and smiles: analytical paradigms in social media COVID-19 humour studies

Bageshree Ramdas Bageshwar,Shahila Zafar


Amid the deluge of serious social media posts regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, humorous posts brought users much-needed respite. This article reviews studies on social media-based COVID-19 humour in 42 research articles that were selected from four databases, viz. Science Direct, Scopus, Taylor & Francis, and Web of Science. After the classification and analysis of the articles on the basis of some key features, a detailed description and discussion of the findings have been carried out. The results concerning the characteristics and functions of COVID-19 humour reveal that most studies investigated image-text memes; the most important feature found was ‘humour,’ in addition to others like sarcasm, irony, satire, criticism, juxtaposition, and locality. Intertextuality played a significant role in the structure of humorous posts, especially those related to specific countries. Additionally, it shows that although research on COVID-19 humour on social media is still in an early phase, several findings appear stable across various studies included in this review. Moreover, most humour studied is not only about the virus or the disease itself, but also focuses on absurd situations individuals found themselves in due to the pandemic and the lockdown that followed.


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