Humour and Power in Media Society


Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki

Related Degree Programmes:

  • Master’s Programme in Global Politics and Communication
  • Politiikan ja viestinnän maisteriohjelma




850-1400 EUR




Joonas Koivukoski

Target students

The course is designed for Master’s degree students of social sciences, media and communication, journalism, cultural studies, politics, literature, arts, or sociology.


Humour, media and power are intertwined in many different ways. Publicity of politics is more entertaining-oriented than before, and our entertainment deals with politics more explicitly. This course explores how politicians, advertisers, activists, satirists, and we as audiences use humour to make sense of topical issues and our lives. The rising significance of promotional and popular culture, as well as humour scandals and TV satire, are explored in order to provide an overview of politics of humour.

The course offers lectures and workshops to analyse contemporary mediated humour from various perspectives.

Learning objectives

During the course the students will learn the basic concepts and theories for understanding contemporary mediated humour. Through classical theories of humour the student can identify cognitive, linguistic and psychological functions of humour, whereas perspectives of sociology, political science and communication studies provide means to analyse the social functions of mediated humour.

After completing the course the students will be able to analyse complex empirical cases of mediated humours performances and texts. They will understand how particular historical, cultural, political and technological contexts provide frames for humorous texts and their interpretation. The students will also acknowledge the ambiguous nature of humour, its paradoxical consequences and the conflicting interpretations it might foster.

Team work, discussions and presentations will allow the students to develop their social skills in a multicultural environment. Presentations and individual work also develop analytical and rhetorical skills needed in academic settings.

Course format and teaching methods

Lectures, group work and presentations, individual assignment (an essay and its presentation)

Means and criteria of assessment

Pass/fail: based on active participation (25%), group work and presentations (25 %) and individual assignment (50%)

Program taught in:
  • English

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This course is Campus based
Start Date
17 days
850 EUR
850-1400 EUR
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