Pussy Riot’s humour and the social media: Self-irony, subversion, and solidarity


Pussy Riot
new media
guerrilla communication

How to Cite

Pahl, B. (2017). Pussy Riot’s humour and the social media: Self-irony, subversion, and solidarity. The European Journal of Humour Research, 4(4), 67–104. https://doi.org/10.7592/EJHR2016.4.4.pahl


This paper seeks to demonstrate that both the media impact and political success of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot rest on their use of new media, on the one hand, and on an aesthetic principle of humour, on the other, or, more specifically, on a kind of humour that is both self-reflexive and subversive. Pussy Riot operate through a style of guerrilla communication that re-signifies signs and symbols for their own purpose in a self-ironical, comical manner. I will indicate the contradictions and ambiguities of various interpretive frameworks – which not only create humour but are particularly motivating factors in the (personal) decision to become politically active. The speed with which one can communicate within social networks made it possible that infectious laughter about the absurdity of the events in Moscow was able to spread so rapidly. Reassurance and the community’s solidarity were closely connected to the fun and joy of the individual internet user.



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