Alternative Forms of Argument Humor & The Body


  • Final Study Guide on Canvas
  • Grades left for rest of semester: Attendance/Participation, Last Journal, Praxis #3, Final Exam
  • No more extra credit opportunities can be sent in; last day to submit responses are next week by 2pm (No emailed responses accepted)
  • EVALUATE ME! www.csun.edu/sef


  • Arguments of the Week
  • Finish Normativity, Democracy, Difference: Mouffe
  • Introduce and discuss Alternative Forms of Arg: Body and Humor



  • In groups of 3 or 4, you will facilitate discussion with the class
  • I will provide you with the question you will present to the class
  • BEFORE the discussion, each member should present their point of view
  • AFTER each member presents their point of view, your group will ask the audience the same question
  • GOAL: Listen to at least 4 responses and respond to each response by "affirming" their point of view (each member should make an attempt to affirm an audience member's response)
The Body as Argument? (DeLuca)

Can the body be an argument?

Which of the two types of images is more persuasive?

Queer Movements

Challenge to heteronormative spaces

Televisual Era

Is it the image making the argument of the body making the argument?

their bodies, then, become not merely flags to attract attention of the argument but the site and substance of the argument itself (DELUCA 10)


humor as argument

Parody as Argument? (Hariman)

Reason & Eloquence in Political Culture

  • Reason = rational, logical
  • Eloquence = style

Parody is the paradic double

Parody as a metacritique about the way we communicate

Potential Benefits of Parody for Democratic Decision Making

Exposes Limits

“What had seemed to be serious is in fact foolish, and likewise the powerful is shown to be vulnerable, the unchangeable contingent, the enchanting dangerous. Parody works in great part by exceeding tactic limits on expression-- the appropriate, the rational--but it does so to reveal limitations that others would want to keep hidden”. (Hariman 251)

Two Responses to Parodic Discourse

  • Conservative fact: doesn’t really change what happened
  • Radical fact: people will continue to laugh at it or will force it to change. Can’t see it the same way.

Parody is epideictic

Parody is both conservative & radical

Good parody challenges how you think of the world

Constitutes Public Culture

If people can laugh at it, makes it seem like they can participate in public culture.


When can humor be bad for argument?

Potential Drawbacks to Parody for Democratic Decision Making

Parody is sometimes just a cynical performance

What was the point?

Cynical speech is bad for democracy

Are you in on the joke?

Other Drawbacks?

Ways to combat bad humor/parody? More comedy?

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