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    Negotiating Nationhood through Images: The visual language of French political cartoons from 2015 to 2017

    McMahon, Rachel (2023) Negotiating Nationhood through Images: The visual language of French political cartoons from 2015 to 2017. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Particularly pertinent given the explosive power of political cartoons that has been witnessed in Europe in recent years, the central focus of this research is a decoding of the visual rhetoric of satirical media in France today. These images are analysed as rich sources of coded content pertaining to concepts of nationhood and identity, a pressing issue of contention given the current tumultuous socio-political climate in France. Conceived primarily through an argument of images and play of metaphor, these political ephemera are powerful sites of symbolic meaning-making, wherein ‘elite’ concepts of national identity may be challenged as well as strengthened. With this research, then, I hold that an exploration of the poetics of political imagery reveals enduring myths about France and its inhabitants, one that arguably forms part of a wider, nationwide dispute about citizenship that extends beyond formal, legal definitions. Within these connoted elite concepts of Frenchness and its corresponding marginalised Other, the signifying practices of satire, and its purpose and misuse, emerge as especially significant. Remarkably central in renewed nationhood debates stoked by the current identity and ideological crisis felt in France, the satirical political cartoon often appears to represent an irreconcilability between French and Muslim values. In such a context, further, the customarily subversive deployment of satire in contemporary France, whilst ‘punching up’ at threats and intimidation, often simultaneously appears to align with elite, hegemonic scopic regimes and social positions, dislocating its proper societal function. For a postcolonial France with an increasingly fractured populace, the ‘dangerous signs’ of the satirical political cartoon, then, become disputed space for meaning-making, with its contemporary application, and the semiotic ideologies contained therein, entangled with new socio-political implications.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Negotiating Nationhood; Images; visual language; French political cartoons; 2015 to 2017;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Anthropology
    Item ID: 17283
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2023 14:42
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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