The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 3, No 4 (2015)

Why are we watching funny videos in our pedagogy course? Deconstructing humorous videos to foster social activism in educators

Anita Bright


For critical educators working towards social justice and activism, it is imperative to promote a thoughtful and purposeful examination of the privileges that spring from institutionalised practices, and the ways belief systems may deny the normalcy of views or experiences of others. By employing critical discourse analysis and framing funny videos as part of larger, cultural “mirror” that reflects widely-held values and beliefs within local, institutional and societal domains, this paper identifies specific humorous videos and lines of inquiry that have supported educators in recognising their own complicity in promoting a narrow definition of normativity, along varying and intersecting planes, including white privilege, the privilege of being a heritage speaker of English, privileged gendered behaviours, heteronormativity, and the myth of meritocracy, among others. By using online humorous video clips as a springboard for reflection and discussion, this paper describes an illumination of the ways humorous media may have been given a “free pass” and allowed it to remain un-interrogated, even though it may be quietly and insidiously perpetuating damaging perspectives. Deconstructing these layered messages embedded in humorous video clips can be useful in helping (future) educators understand their own positionality and the ways these insights may positively impact their instructional practices in ways that promote equity and work against oppressive institutional practices.



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