Just kidding? – A qualitative research into the sociocultural role and meanings of humorous representations of ethnic diversity in Flemish television comedy.

01 October 2018 → 28 February 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Communication research methodology
    • Intercultural communication
    • Visual communication
    • Cultural media
    • Digital media
    • Media audience research
    • Media discourse reception
ethnic boundaries countering stereotypes human representation discourse comedy humour participatory youth research analysis of the media ethnic diversity
Project description

To this day, comic imagery that revolves around ethnic differences may create intercultural
conflicts and polarize public debates. The research project wants to explore these cultural tensions
over humour and identity in a Flemish climate that is marked by ethno-cultural tensions, colourblind
ideology and a lack of visibility for diaspora audiences in public, mediated and academic
spheres (Adriaens, 2012). As such, the aim of the project is threefold. First, it wants to unravel and
discuss the sociocultural discourses that revolve around humorous representations of ethnic
diversity. Second, it seeks to explore the productive role of comedy in broaching sensitive issues
and challenging racial and ethnic stereotypes and intercultural misunderstandings. Third, it aims to
reflect on the ethics and limits of representation in a politically correct environment. To this end,
the multimethod project first explores diaspora youth’s comedy preferences and knowledge of Flemish TV shows by means of co-creation sessions. Second, it analyses the representations of
ethnic diversity in four Flemish TV comedy genres. Third, it examines the public debate revolving
around these representations, paying attention to the discordant relationship between humour
and political correctness. Fourth, the project explores the various ways diaspora youth make sense
of humorous representations of ethnic diversity and how they evaluate the potential role of
humour in addressing sensitive topics.