Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …


International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.558
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.084

CiteScore 2018: 1.00

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.367
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.614

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 29, Issue 3


The humor of Skopje 2014: Between effects and evaluations

Aleksandar Takovski
Published Online: 2016-07-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2016-0022


In 2010, the Macedonian government commissioned a controversial urban project titled Skopje 2014, designed to aesthetically revamp the look of the capital’s center. The announcement gave rise to conflicting views, both supportive and critical of the idea. Part of the criticism leveled at the project was expressed through on-line humor which produced no major sociopolitical effect, public debate or counter-humor production. Yet its production and reception may be taken as emblematic of the societal tensions underlying the contradiction between its effects and its evaluations.

By outlining the political context of the humor’s emergence, analyzing the examples produced, and voicing humor creators’ and citizens’ understanding of its political role, the study reflects upon humor’s specifics and limitations in order to argue that the humor produced and its understanding reflect the political impulses, tensions, and ambiguities of a hybrid society such as Macedonia. Using input from the discussions on the role of humor across political systems, and especially relying on studies of political on-line humor in democracies and audience research, the study intends to determine the political effect of the humor produced so as to argue that faced with many challenges, the humor failed to become a democratic means of political engagement, remaining largely a tool for the expression of personal dissatisfaction. Nonetheless, there is an existing paradox in the face of citizens’ beliefs in the potential of this humor. This study tries to explain this paradox.

Keywords: Skopje 2014; online political humor; psychological relief; political engagement; audience reception


  • Archakis, Argiris & Villy Tsakona. 2011. Informal talk in formal settings: Humorous narratives in Greek parliamentary debates. In Villy Tsakona & Diana Elena Popa (eds.), Studies in political humour: In between political critique and public entertainment, 61–81. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.Google Scholar

  • Bakhtin, M. M. 1984. Problems of Dostoevsky’s poetics. Translated by Caryl Emerson. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar

  • Baumgartner, C. Jody. 2007. Humour on the next frontier: Youth, online political humour and the JibJab effect. Social Science Computer Review 25. 319–338.Google Scholar

  • Baumgartner, C. Jody & Jonathan S. Morris. 2006. The Daily Show effect: Candidate evaluation, efficacy, and American youth. American Politics Research 34. 341–367.Google Scholar

  • Benton, Gregor. 1988. The Origins of the political joke. In Chris Powel & George E.C. Paton (eds.), Humour in society: Resistance and control, 33–55. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar

  • Bruner, M. Lane. 2005. Carnivalesque protest and the humorless state. Text and Performance Quarterly 25(2). 136–155.Google Scholar

  • Burke, Peter. 2008. Eyewitnessing: The uses of images as historical evidence. New York: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar

  • Davies, Christie. 2007. Humour and protest: Jokes under communism. International Review of Social History 52. 291–305.Google Scholar

  • Davies, Christie. 2009. Post-socialist, socialist and never-socialist jokes and humour: Continuities and contrasts. In Arvo Kirkmann & Liisi Laineste (eds.), Permitted laughter: Socialst, post-socialist and never socialist humour, 17–38. Tartu: ELM Scholarly Press.Google Scholar

  • Davies, Christie. 2010. Jokes as the truth about soviet socialism. Folklore 46. 9–32. http://www.folklore.ee/folklore/vol46/davies.pdf (accessed 10 May 2016).Google Scholar

  • Da Silva, Patricia & Dias Garcia. 2012. Youtubers as satirists: Humour and remix in online video. JeDEM 4(1). 89–114.Google Scholar

  • Freud, Sigmund. 1960 [1905]. Jokes and their relation to the unconscious. New York: Norton.Google Scholar

  • Gray, Jonathan, Jeffrey P. Jones & Ethan Thompson. 2009. Satire TV: Politics and comedy in the post-network era. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar

  • Hess, Aaron. 2009. Resistance up in smoke: Analyzing the limitations of deliberation on youtube. Critical Studies in Media Communication 26(5). 411–434.Google Scholar

  • Kramer, Elize. 2011. The playful is political: The metapragmatics of internet rape-joke arguments. Language in Society 40. 137–168.Google Scholar

  • Laineste, Liisi. 2011. Politics of taste in a post-socialist state: A case study. In Villy Tsakona & Diana Elena Popa (eds.), Studies in political humour: In between political critique and public entertainment, 217–241. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.Google Scholar

  • Lewis, Paul (ed.). 2008. The Muhammad cartoons and humour research: A collection of essays. Humor 21(1). 1–46.Google Scholar

  • Macková, Alena & Jakub Macek. 2014. Žít Brno’: Czech online political activism from jokes and tactics to politics and strategies. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace 8(3). http://www.cyberpsychology.eu/search.php?rsvelikost=uvod&rstext=all-phpRS-all&rstema=41&stromhlmenu=41 (accessed 10 May 2016).Google Scholar

  • Martin, A. Rod. 2007. The psychology of humor: An integrative approach. Burlington, San Diego & London: Elsevier Academic Press.Google Scholar

  • Milner, M. Ryan. 2012. The world made meme: Discourse and identity in participatory media. Lawrence: University of Kansas dissertation. http://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/dspace/handle/1808/10256 (accessed 10 May 2016).

  • Morreall, John. 2005. Humour and the conduct of politics. In Sharon Lockyer & Michael Pickering (eds.), Beyond the joke: The limits of humour, 63–78. Hampshire and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar

  • Nilsen, L.F. Don. 1990. The social function of political humour. The Journal of Popular Culture 24. 35–47.Google Scholar

  • Oring, Elliot. 2004. Risky business: Political jokes under repressive regimes. Western Folklore 63(3). 209–236. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25474676 (accessed 10 May 2016).Google Scholar

  • Pi-Sunyer, Oriol. 1977. Political humor in a dictatorial state: The Case of Spain. Ethnohistory 24. 179–190.Google Scholar

  • Plevriti, Vasiliki. 2014. Satirical user-generated memes as an effective source of political criticism, extending debate and enhancing civic engagement. Coventry: University of Warwick dissertation. https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/theatre_s/cp/research/publications/madiss/ccps_13-14_vasiliki_plevriti.pdf (accessed 17 May 2016).

  • Rose, Alexander. 2001–2002. When politics is a laughing matter. Policy Review 110. 59–71.Google Scholar

  • Schutz, E. Charles. 1977. Political humor: From Aristophanes to Sam Ervin. Rutherford, NJ: Farleigh Dickinson University Press.Google Scholar

  • Shehata, S. Samer. 1992. The politics of laughter: Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarek in Egyptian political jokes. Folklore 103(1). 75–91.Google Scholar

  • Shifman, Limor. 2014. Memes in digital culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar

  • Speier, Hans. 1998. Wit and politics: An essay on laughter and power. American Journal of Sociology 103(5). 1352–1401.Google Scholar

  • Stewrad, O. Craig. 2013. Strategies of verbal irony in visual satire: Reading the New Yorker’s “Politics of fear” cover. Humor 26(2). 197–217.Google Scholar

  • Tay, Geniesa. 2014. Binders full of LOLitics: Political humour, internet memes, and play in the 2012 US presidential election (and beyond). European Journal of Humour Research 2(4). [Special issue on the limits of humour ‘Anything goes?’]. 46–73 http://www.europeanjournalofhumour.org/index.php/ejhr/article/view/101 (accessed 17 November 2015).

  • Tsakona, Villy. 2009. Humour and image politics in parliamentary discourse: A Greek case study. Text and Talk 29: 219–237.Google Scholar

  • Tsakona, Villy. 2013. Okras and the metapragmatic streotypes of humour: Towards an expansion of the GTVH. In Marta Dynel (ed.), Development of linguistic humour theory, 25–48. Amsterdam & Philadeplphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.Google Scholar

  • Tsakona, Villy & Diana E. Popa. 2011. Humur in politics and the politics of humour: An introduction. In Villy Tsakona & Elena Diana Popa (eds.), Studies in political humour: In between political critique and public entertainment, 1–30. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.Google Scholar

  • Tunc, Asli. 2002. Pushing the limits of tolerance. Functions of political cartoonists in the democratisation process: The case of Turkey. Gazette: The International Journal for Communication Studies 64. 47–62.Google Scholar

  • Yurchak, Alexei. 1997. The cynical reason of late socialism: Power, pretence, and the ankedot. Public Culture 9. 161–188.Google Scholar

  • Yurchak, Alexei. 2005. Everything was forever, until it was no more: The last soviet generation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

About the article

Aleksandar Takovski

Aleskandar Takovski teaches whatever life brings him to teach at SEE University in the Republic of Macedonia, from basic skills English, ESP and Academic writing to linguistics, poetry and genre fiction. His research interests include, but are not limited to: political and ethnic humor, critical discourse analysis of political and nationalist discourses, semiotics of space, multimodality.

Published Online: 2016-07-30

Published in Print: 2016-08-01

Citation Information: HUMOR, Volume 29, Issue 3, Pages 381–412, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2016-0022.

Export Citation

©2016 by De Gruyter Mouton.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in