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Events, practices, languages

Satire is a discursive practice complex and multifaceted. Within the academic study of literary and artistic area has been mostly analyzed as a genre that, through specific linguistic codes, highlights critical aspects of society, culture and contemporary politics, with the dual purpose of making people laugh and think too. The October 2012 Diacronie aims to explore this genre and its specific features – that distinguish it from similar practices such as humor, irony or sarcasm – through the many links established with the historical analysis and historiographical practices. You do not plan to make “history of satire”, but try the one hand, to consider how the satirical productions of different ages may be helpful in the study of “history” and, secondly, to ask whether it is possible to speak of history and communicate the results of a search through the codes of satire. This is a double look that focuses attention on a discursive, linguistic and methodological issues, but within a specific area of interest, related to the reconstruction and interpretation of events, characters and dynamics of the past.

Satire is a form of expression closely associated at the time that makes it, so that outside of their historical context, satirical texts are often incomprehensible. At the same time, the figures attached by satire, either politicians or human “types”, can be raised to “archetypes” in all ages and in all cultures. The goal remains unchanged: to mock power and customs.

Focusing on contemporary age, it will be interesting to understand how, in different ages and socio-political contexts, the satirical productions are able to represent their time unmasking the defects but also proposing and promoting new food for thought and practical action. Trying to study the satire of (from) the right wing and of (from) the left wing politics can help us to understand the relationships between the different political cultures and communicative cultural practices (for example, the frequent mistrust is often shown from left to satire and laughter or mechanisms that have led to see in the ’50s and ’60s satire as a “right wing practice”). On this axis it will be important to emphasize the “practical effects” that some authors and some publications have had on the social and political landscape, becoming real actors in ideological and cultural scene but also in parliamentary and government dynamics in the strict sense ( see for example the mobilization of Guareschi against the “Legge truffa” of 1953). As recalled by Attilio Brilli, in fact, the satire has often contributed to «convey the story of a subversive ,dissenting tradition aiming to turn [...] hierarchical crystallized structures and charismatic figures of power» (in Dalla satira alla caricatura: storia, tecniche e ideologie della rappresentazione, Bari, Edizioni Dedalo, 1985, p. 12). But if satire can become an instrument of political struggle against the constituted powers, so it can be used by the power of becoming propaganda, in a more or less explicit and declared way (consider Nazi propaganda against the Jewish people).

Equally challenging it will be trying to understand how today’s satire tells us about the past time and how satirical authors sometimes take on the role of historians, often influencing the perceptions by the public. Increasingly works are published that are placed in an extremely labile interstitial space between two practices and two languages that are apparently two worlds apart: namely historiography and satire. The comedian, cartoonist, comic often dealt with in a manner anything but superficial historical themes through highly complex hybrid language. We can consider, just as an example, the number of graphic novels based on extensive historical research that are communicated through a language that blends essayistic tones and their codes of satire, humor and caricature.

Finally, from a purely linguistic point of view it would be interesting to try to grasp the many links between the graphic-lexical size and the ideology that produced it, working on specific linguistic codes, their diversity and their contradictions, as well as on links with other genres.

How to send an article
Authors can submit their articles in Italian, English, French or Spanish (30.000-40.000 characters, including spaces, footnotes and bibliographies, respecting the rules and instructions specified here: at: Scrivi una mail redazione.diacronie[at]

Please notify as soon as possible, by contacting the editors, of your intention to participate with an article. Final paper submission deadline: 20th August 2012.

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