Laughing Through Change: Subversive Humor in Online Videos of Arab Youth

Yomna Elsayed


Arab youth seek ways to subvert authority and redefine identity in the somewhat less supervised spaces of online humor. As Arab states tighten their grip on youth for fear of dissent, their youth are exploring other means for social change at the murky boundaries between jokes and insults, seriousness and frivolity. This study argues that the interplay between parental and political authorities complicates their attempts at political change and demands an analysis of resistance at both the cultural and political levels. With a focus on Egypt and Jordan, this study uses a qualitative thematic analysis of satirical online videos to examine instances of disguised dissent and consciousness-raising among youth away from closed-off public spaces.


political humor, jokes, subversion, videos, Egypt, Jordan, Arab Spring

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