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A Reading List on Parody & Satire, Social Media, and Political Commentary

Last week in Singapore, a government-initiated campaign featured a Chinese actor wearing brownface to portray a Malay woman and an Indian man. The ad was called out by various citizens on social media, including influencer Preetipls and her musician brother Subhas who responded with a parody of rap artist Iggy Azalea’s ‘F*ck It Up’. But this parody video that presented critical commentary on racism in Singapore was instead criticised by some citizens for being racist, and became censored by the Singapore government.

To complement a summary of these events (“Minority Influencers, Satire, and Subversive Frivolity“) and an archive of the source materials for teaching purposes (“E-Pay Brownface Ad, and Preetipls & Subhasmusic’s Rap Video“), here is an academic reading list on Parody & Satire, Social Media, and Political Commentary. Many of these are paywalled, but beep your friendly neighbourhood academic and they should be happy to zip you a copy via their institutional access.


Hariman, Robert. 2008. “Political Parody and Public Culture.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 94(3): 247-272. <Link>

Highet, Gilbert. 1962. The Anatomy of Satire. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. <Link>

Kreuz, Roger J., and Richard M. Roberts. 2009. “On Satire and Parody: The Importance of Being Ironic.” Metaphor and Symbolic Activity 8(2): 97-109. <Link>

Kuiper, Koenraad. 1984. “The Nature of Satire.” Poetics 13: 459-473. <Link>

Milne, Esther. 2013. “Parody: Affective Registers, Amateur Aesthetics and Intellectual Property.” Cultural Studies Review 19(1): 193-215. <Link>

Case Studies on YouTube

Cunningham, Carolyn M. 2013. “Sixteen and Not Pregnant: Teen-created YouTube Parody Videos and Sexual Risk-Taking in the United States.” Journal of Children and Media 8(1): 53-68. <Link>

Häkkinen, Ari, and Sirpa Leppänen. 2013. “YouTube Meme Warriors: Mashup Videos as Political Critique.” Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies, Tilberg University. <Link>

Lim, Joon Soo, and Eyun-Jung Ki. 2007. “Resistance to Ethically Suspicious Parody Video on YouTube: A Test of Inoculation Theory.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 84(4): 713-728. <Link>

Lim, Joon Soo, and Guy J. Golan. 2011. “Social Media Activism in Response to the Influence of Political Parody Videos on YouTube.” Communication Research 38(5): 710-727. <Link>

Matamoros-Fernández, Ariadna. 2017. “Platformed racism: the mediation and circulation of an Australian race-based controversy on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.” Information, Communication & Society 20(6): 930-946. <Link>

Shifman, Limor. 2011. “An anatomy of a YouTube meme.” New Media & Society 14(2): 187-203. <Link>

Skågeby, Jörgen. 2012. “Dismantling the guitar hero? A case of prodused parody and disarmed subversion.” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 19(1): 63-76. <Link>

Tryon, Chuck. 2008. “Pop Politics: Online Parody Videos, Intertextuality, and Political Participation.” Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture 6(4): 209-213. <Link>

van Zoonen, Liesbet, Farida Vis, and Sabina Mihelj. 2010. “Performing citizenship on YouTube: activism, satire and online debate around the anti-Islam video Fitna.” Critical Discourse Studies 7(4): 249-262. <Link>

Case Studies on Digital Media

Botha, Elsamari. 2014. “A means to an end: Using political satire to go viral.” Public Relations Review 40(2): 363-374. <Link>

Highfield, Tim. 2015. “News via Voldemort: Parody accounts in topical discussions on Twitter.” New Media & Society 18(9): 2028-2045. <Link>

Kumar, Sangeet. 2015. “Contagious memes, viral videos and subversive parody: The grammar of contention on the Indian web.” International Communication Gazette 77(3): 232-247. <Link>

Kumar, Sangeet, and Kirk Combe. 2015. “Political parody and satire as subversive speech in the global digital sphere.” International Communication Gazette 77(3): 211-214. <Link>

Li, Henry Siling. 2015. “Narrative dissidence, spoof videos and alternative memory in China.” International Journal of Cultural Studies 19(5): 501-517. <Link>

Punathambekar, Aswin. 2015. “Satire, Elections, and Democratic Politics in Digital India.” Television & New Media 16(4): 394-400. <Link>

Sienkiewicz, Matt. 2012. “Out of Control: Palestinian News Satire and Government Power in the Age of Social Media.” Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture 10(1-2): 106-118. <Link>

Yang, Guobin, and Min Jiang. 2015. “The networked practice of online political satire in China: Between ritual and resistance.” International Communication Gazette 77(3): 215-231. <Link>

Case Studies on Traditional Media

Baym, Geoffrey, and Jeffrey P. Jones. (eds). 2013. News parody and Political Satire Across the Globe. New York: Routledge. <Link>

Boyer, Dominic. 2013. “Simply the best: Parody and political sincerity in Iceland.” American Ethnologist 40(2): 276-287. <Link>

Hoffman, Lindsay H, and Gannagal G Young. 2011. “Satire, Punch Lines, and the Nightly News: Untangling Media Effects on Political Participation.” Communication Research Reports 28(2): 159-168. <Link>

Low, Bronwen, and David Smith. 2007. “Borat and the Problem of Parody.” Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education 11(1): 27-39. <Link>

Provencher, Ronald. 1990. “Covering Malay Humor Magazines: Satire and Parody of Malaysian Political Dilemmas.” Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 5(2): 1-25. <Link>


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