The Contingency of Meaning to the Party of God: Carnivalesque Humor in Revolutionary Times

Nour Halabi


The events in the Arab Spring have previously been examined by journalistic and academic sources. Arguments surrounding the series of social movements that swept through the Middle East have shifted focus over time to assessing the success of revolutions in unseating political regimes, resulting in an inordinate amount of attention paid to “successful revolutions,” and the devalorization of “unsuccessful” ones. In the case of Syria, the 2011 Revolution has been linguistically relegated from revolution to crisis and finally to civil war. This article draws from the conviction that long-term change is required to unsettle long-standing and stable dictatorships such as the one in Syria. Thus, this visual analysis of the Hezbollah logo parodies that emerged following the party’s military support of the Syrian regime recognizes the carnivalesque ability of revolution to suspend existing régimes de savoir and break the fear to widen the discursive space toward uncrowning hitherto uncontested political authority. Thus, this study suggests a novel perspective for when revolutions conclude, and when assessments of their results may be made.


political parody, social movement, humor, dissent, Arab Spring

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