The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 10, No 4 (2022)

Making fun of power: political cartoons and memes about President Zelensky. Quantitative and qualitative analysis

Orest Semotiuk,Viktoriya Shevchenko


The paper deals with Ukrainian President’s Zelensky image in political cartoons and memes. They are forms of political humour and can be examined in an interdisciplinary manner. The first part describes theoretical aspects, functions, and elements of political humour and political satire, main features and types of cartoons and memes. In the second part, the corpus of 198 political cartoons and 1121 memes from March 2019 to December 2020 is analysed with computer-aided content analysis and multimodal discourse analysis. The analysis units are social context, formed by the domestic and foreign political events in Ukraine in the research period, joke techniques and communication levels in the cartoons and memes. These units are examined chronologically and thematically. The research is based on the hypothesis about the interdependence of social context and subversive/supportive humour in the construction of Zelensky’s image.


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