Political Cartoon Discourse: Creativity, Critique and Persuasion

Juana I. Marín-Arrese
2019 Cultura, Lenguaje y Representación  
This paper aims to explore the potential of political cartoon discourse for creativity, critique and persuasion, in the representation of social actors and events and in the evaluation of the consequences of Brexit. The paper focuses on the use and interaction of metaphors, metonymies, blending strategies, and cultural models in cartoons depicting the Brexit conundrum, from the perspective of Critical Metaphor Analysis (CMA) (Charteris-Black, 2011; Musolff, 2012) and Multimodal Critical
more » ... al Critical Discourse Analysis (MCDS) (Machin, 2013). The case study adopts an integrated multifaceted framework in the analysis of a representative sample of cartoons selected from quality newspapers published in the UK. The aim is to reveal the synergistic interplay in: (a) the use of metaphors, metonymies, blending strategies, and cultural models in the depiction of social actors, phenomena and events; (b) the features of creativity in the expression of political commentary by professional cartoonists (novelty, recontextualization); and (c) the role of political cartoons in the critique and challenge of political power, by creating counter-narratives and acting as vehicles of persuasion. RESUMEN: Este artículo pretende explorar el potencial del discurso de viñetas políticas para la creatividad, la crítica y la persuasión, en la representación de los actores sociales y los eventos, y en la evaluación de las consecuencias del Brexit. El trabajo se centra en el uso e interacción de metáforas, metonimias, estrategias de fusión conceptual, y modelos culturales en viñetas que representan el dilema del Brexit, desde la perspectiva del Análisis Crítico de la Metáfora (ACM) (Charteris-Black, 2011; Musolff, 2012), y Análisis Crítico del Discurso Multimodal (ACDM) (Machin, 2013). El estudio de caso adopta un marco integrado multifacético en el análisis de una muestra representativa de viñetas, seleccionadas de periódicos de calidad publicados en el Reino Unido. El objetivo es desvelar la interacción sinérgica entre: (a) el uso de metáforas, metonimias, estrategias de fusión conceptual, y modelos culturales en la representación de actores sociales, fenómenos, y eventos; (b) los rasgos de creatividad en la expresión del comentario político por parte de humoristas gráficos profesionales Artículo recibido el / Article 118 (innovación, recontextualización); y (c) el papel del humor gráfico político en la crítica y el desafío del poder político, mediante la creación de contra-narrativas y como vehículos de persuasión. Palabras clave: metáfora, multimodalidad, análisis crítico del discurso, humor gráfico político, creatividad, persuasión INTRODUCTION Political cartoons configure the discursive construction and qualification (positively or negatively) of social actors, phenomena or events (Wodak & Meyer, 2015) , and play a crucial role in challenging claims made by politicians and the face-saving strategies they engage in, and in highlighting the inconsistencies of political decisions and practices (Marín-Arrese, 2005 in press). Two dimensions of meaning construction are central in political cartooning: the humorous pictorial depiction and the political butt or critical stance expressed in the cartoon. Political cartoons may both reflect and reinforce or reshape public opinion and readers' beliefs or points of view on specific socio-political issues as well as their social and cultural attitudes (Schilperoord & Maes, 2009) . The paper aims to explore the potential of political cartoon discourse for creativity, critique and persuasion, in the representation of social actors and events and in the evaluation of the consequences of Brexit. RQ1: The first set of research questions centre on the issue of representation and depiction strategies: How are the main social actors (key UK politicians) depicted in the cartoons? How is Brexit conceptualized and depicted? How do metaphor and other cognitive mechanisms interact with cultural models to yield various metaphor-blend-model combinations in the representations of social actors and events in the cartoons? Do we find common metaphors, blending strategies, or cultural models in the cartoons and in the language of politics and the press? The paper examines recurrent themes in the conceptualization and cartoon depiction of social actors and recent events in the UK and the EU concerning the Brexit conundrum, which have received special attention in the press, such as the Brexit Referendum (2016) and the issues derived thereof. As we will see, these depictions reveal common and consistently shared conceptualizations in the representation of social actors and events in the political cartoons, and in the discourse of politicians and the media (Chilton & Ilyin, 1993; Bergen, 2004; Charteris-Black, 2011; Musolff, 2012; Marín-Arrese, in press). The paper also seeks to examine the ways in which cartoons are used to evaluate the potential consequences of Brexit, and provide a site of critique, dissent and transgression (Marín-Arrese, 2005 . RQ2: The second set of research questions focus on the strategies for the de-construction of pro-Brexit scenarios: What plausible counter-scenarios are depicted in the cartoons? What types of narrative genres are evoked as framing and re-framing devices in the cartoons? What is the role of intertextuality in the construction of counter-scenarios? The paper focuses on the strategies of de-construction of pro-Brexit scenarios in cartoons by providing figurative counter-scenarios as plausible frames for evaluating the consequences of Brexit (Musolff, 2017). As we will see, in the counter-scenarios created by the cartoon there is an interplay of familiar and recurrent cultural representations (symbolic images, allegorical representations, personification, person-animal hybrids,
doi:10.6035/clr.2019.22.7 fatcat:37vg63dzanbo7cwgpd5lwpj7z4