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The ‘School for Laughter’: Visual Satire, Transmediality, and Performativity in Krokodil, 1954-1964

Etty, John Samuel (2016) The ‘School for Laughter’: Visual Satire, Transmediality, and Performativity in Krokodil, 1954-1964. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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This thesis investigates the forms, production, consumption, and functions of Krokodil (The Crocodile) magazine in the period 1954-1964. Krokodil was among the most popular publications in the USSR, producing state-sanctioned satirical comment on Soviet and international affairs from 1922, but until now it has been the subject of only limited study. This thesis answers the question: How does an empirical analysis of the text of Krokodil allow us to extend and nuance our understanding of Soviet graphic satire beyond state-sponsored propaganda? The thesis comprises three chapters; each employs a post-structuralist theoretical framework to reinterpret an aspect of Krokodil. Chapter 1 explores how Krokodil’s cartoons deployed ideologically shaped schemata in the construction of satirical critiques, and draws upon Mikhail Bakhtin’s definition of Menippean satire to explain the nature of the journal’s satire. Chapter 2 investigates the production and consumption of the journal, illuminating readers’ contributions to the magazine, and using transmedia theory to extend our understanding of Krokodil to include a previously unacknowledged range of extensions in other media. Chapter 3 examines the performative force of Krokodil’s political cartoons, challenging assumptions about the limitations placed upon Soviet satirists by exploring the magazine’s use of theatrical performance as a metaphor in cartoons satirising domestic politics. Examining Krokodil’s satirical vision, its expressive means and the interpretive possibilities suggested by its cartoons, this study shows that Krokodil’s satire was complex, subtle and intermedial. The thesis highlights the importance of Krokodil’s readers’ and artists’ collaborative exploration and shaping of the boundaries of permissible discourse. Finally, the thesis argues that Krokodil’s cartoons simultaneously affirmed, refracted and critiqued official discourses in the Post-Stalin period and counterposed them with visions of Soviet citizens’ responses to them. Ideology, Krokodil’s satire suggests, is an interpretive tool for negotiating everyday reality and official discourses, and it was not always to be taken seriously.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Political cartoons, visual satire, Soviet Union, transmedia, performativity, carnival, caricature, Krokodil, propaganda, ideology, Thaw
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr John Etty
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2016 10:59
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2016 10:59
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/15582

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