Satire, Comedy and Mental Health: Coping with the Limits of Critique

Dieter Declercq
University of Kent, UK

Product Details
13 Jan 2021
Emerald Publishing Limited
160 pages - 152 x 229mm
Emerald Points
Satire, Comedy and Mental Health examines how satire helps to sustain good mental health in a troubled socio-political world. Through an interdisciplinary dialogue that combines approaches from the analytic philosophy of art, medical and health humanities, media studies, and psychology, the book demonstrates how satire enables us to negotiate a healthy balance between care for others and care of self.

Building on a thorough philosophical explication and close analysis of satire in various forms - including novels, music, TV, film, cartoons, memes, stand-up comedy and protest artefacts - Declercq investigates how we can harness satirical entertainment to ease the limits of critique. In so doing, the book presents a compelling case that, while satire cannot hope to cure our sick world, it can certainly help us to cope with it.
Chapter 1. What is satire?;
Chapter 2. Satire as therapy: curing a sick world?;
Chapter 3. Satire as therapy revisited: coping with a sick world;
Chapter 4. The solace of entertainment; 
Chapter 5. Comic irony and narrative coping;
Dieter Declercq is Lecturer in Film and Media Studies at the University of Kent, UK. Focusing in particular on the existential value of popular media (especially satire, comedy and cartoons), his research is informed by methodologies from analytical aesthetics, media studies, and medical and health humanities. His research has been published in numerous journals, including The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, ImageTextEthical Perspectives, and Ethical Theory and Moral Practice.
'Dieter Declercq's main argument is that one of the important aspects of satire is its ability to help us cope with a frustrating reality. Satire helps us accept the facts that are troublesome and at the same time without our reach, that is, things we cannot change. At the same time, it helps us keep our opposition to this state of the world and not just give in and give up. The book is thus both a realistic critique of those who have hailed satire as a cornerstone of democracy and a way to overthrow despots, and a defense of satire as a means for both the artist and the public to maintain a state of mental health. In other words, satire is not saving the world, but it might save us. The book is truly interdisciplinary, with examples picked from recent popular culture, rather than Classic literature. The book is accessible and a brilliant introduction to the question of why satire has kept its popularity for more than 2000 years.' - Orla Vigsö, Professor in Media Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

‘In his book, Satire, Comedy, and Mental Health-Coping with Limits of Critique, Dr. Dieter Declercq offers us a welcomed tonic for our heightened existential angst born of pandemic, economic crisis, and social injustice. His is a carefully reasoned, critical approach. He provides a convincing theoretical argument for satire as narrative tool in the service of authenticity. His scholarly exposition of the interface of satire with its interdisciplinary foundations is refreshingly clear and concise. It is a must read for humanities scholars and health practitioners alike.’ - Daniel Hall-Flavin, Mayo Clinic Rochester, USA

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