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Ali G, Bruno and Borat – Critical humor or offensive stereotypes?

Ali G, Bruno and Borat – Critical humor or offensive stereotypes?
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Presenter(s) Giorgos Avgeris, Greek National School of Public Administration
Seminar type Open Seminar Series
Location SEERC Seminar Room
Date and time 27/05/2008, 10:00 – 12:00
Organiser(s) The Culture and Politics Research Group
Website http://
This talk will explore the personality of the British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and his three comic personas, those of Ali G, Borat and Bruno. The presentation will try to explore what is considered an inventive, innovative and radical political and cultural commentary emerging from a contemporary multi-cultural context. After analysing each character's particular traits and social posititioning, an attempt will be made to draw out the theoretical strands that define these kinds of personas as distinctive post-structuralist subjects, by considering changes in the method of exposing the “critical” in humour nowadays. Additionally, inspired by Cohen’s humoristic repertoire, I will argue that a major shift in the current perception of politics, as well as a criticism of political freedoms in the modern western states can be seen in his work. Finally, historical thought regarding the sensitivity of humour will be explored in reference to the ethical questions raised by the cultural relativism often provoked by the ambiguity of the figure of Borat.

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