Good Cynicism : The Civic Potentials of Political Comedy and The Reasons for Its Absence on Colombian Television

University essay from Lunds universitet/Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap; Lunds universitet/Institutionen för kommunikation och medier

Abstract: This research addresses the potential of political comedy and satire as television genres in the construction of democracy and civic culture in Colombia. Through a set of elite interviews with representative individuals in the media, political humor and media scholarship circles of the country; and through genre-based and political, economical and cultural analyses, this research underscores the real reasons for the absence of domestic political comedy on Colombian television. The discussions take into account constraints such as media ownership issues, censorship, economic bans, power struggles, the assassination of the comedian Jaime Garzón, and the Colombian audiences’ TV consumption habits. At the same time, it is explained how the telenovela TV genre adopted some aspects of political comedy, thus helping to the survival of satirism in the medium. Also, this research discloses how entertaining politics can provide useful input to the formation of cultural citizenship, and explores the civic skills that a society would develop if political comedy shows were produced. Furthermore, a new approach is suggested to understand the political cynicism concept used by political communication scholars to explain the citizens’ apathy and political disengagement resulting from the consumption of media contents -particularly entertaining ones. By bringing into the debate a contextual re-signification of the term cynicism, this research finds that a sort of ‘good cynicism’, represented by more analytical and critical stances towards the powers, can politically engage the potential viewership of political comedy and satirical shows on Colombian television.

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