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Political cartoons and their visual representation

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The use of political cartoons is something which was historically planned and executed for targeted and specific purposes. In the recent past, political cartoons have started gaining too much traction across different discourses. Today more than
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  Last name 1 Political cartoons and their visual representation Introduction The use of political cartoons is something which was historically planned and executed for targeted and specific purposes. In the recent past, political cartoons have started gaining too much traction across different discourses. Today more than ever, cartoons are being used as vehicles for setting social political agenda, stirring up debate among the masses. The use of cartoons has provided serious commentary on political affairs in the country. To effectively interpret the message contained in the cartoon, a reader will need to be abreast with current affairs, debates, knowledge on cultural context of the citizenry and capable of analytical  judgements (Landbeck 19). The focus of this paper is to render an analysis on the cartoons as a visual metaphor on political agenda. In the last quarter of 2018, cartoons were used to portray violent leadership and regime violence in Serbia. In the last quarter of 2018, Serbians launched a succession of peaceful protests citing rising political violence of President Al eksandar Vucic’s regime. The violence started in the capital and spread to other cities in the country. Cartoons that with violence are widely synonymous with the depiction of thugs to denote they are critical cog in the working of a regime. Cartoonists employ the use of allegorical approaches to capture the attention of its readers and viewers. For example, there is a common Serbian cartoon depicting drowning man with a metal box chained on his neck, the Serbian people are represented by the drowning man while the metal box represents the ruling party. What the cartoonist was trying to pass to his  readers was the stressful and harsh consequences of the ruling coalition to the citizens. Objects with violent intonations in real life like military, tanks and guns are often used to represent criminals, the same has been extended to noble persons like judges, priests and politicians. In some cartoons, the intention of the cartoonist is clearly to show the Vucic’s violent nature and its consequences to his governance style (Dougherty 258-270). Figure 1. “The pulpit”   In the cartoon “The pulpit” (Figure 1), the cartoonist has used the setting of the government’s pressroom as a depiction of the regime’s violence. The depiction has Vucic centered in the cartoon hoisted p and drawn in visible striking colors contrasting the black and white faceless reporters that are positioned at the bottom. The literal difference in the cartoon can  be described as up versus down and arrogant versus humble. The cartoonist main intention here was to how the manner in which Vucic elevates himself above all else while at the same time discounting journalist opinions. Personalization of power is reinforced as an idea through visual  allegory captured in the stadium fence. The visual device used here is used to send two very  powerful messages. First message is that of a government that is bound through social contract to inform its media and citizens as one that has instead barricaded itself keeping the citizens away. The second message is that associating Vucic as an extremist hooligan, this has been buttressed  by the torch and his screaming facial expression. Additionally, Vucic is not only represented in the cartoon as any ordinary hooligan. Just like football fans who are kept from the field using a fence that he is standing on, he is represented as the leader of the football fans. He is seen waving his fist in the air as if to charge the other fans into fever pitch energy, he is inciting them to commit other acts of hooliganism. In su mmary, a keen look at the cartoon’s actions and bodily gestures will reveal the manner in which Vucic treats journalists, his response to questions he does not like and how he brushes the  journalists off brandishing those with uncomfortable questions as his enemies (Kristic et al., 6). To Vucic, a question that would otherwise be treated as a legitimate question on democracy to him is considered as a personal attack on his person and y extension, regime. Using visual metaphors in the cartoons have been used to symbolize what happens inside a government and with the aggressive stadium culture and of hooliganism, it also shows the governments penchant for and personification of violence. Conclusion In late 2018, the use of cartoons to show the violent nature of Serbia ruling party and regime heightened. This paper has briefly showed how oppressive and violent regimes have an impact on individuals and democratic institutions in the country as a whole. The cartoon is also indicative of the courage with which citizens like the cartoonist are willing to speak up to power and reveal the brutish, oppressive nature of the regime. “the pulpit” shows the level of  authoritarianism and manipulation of Vucic and his regime, something that was little known to the cartoonis t’s audience. The study has therefore shown how political cartoons can add meaning to current affairs and ongoing political event. It invites the curiosity of the viewer ponder on the one- man rule and his regime’s violence as occupying force in democratic institutions. Works cited Landbeck, C. "Issues in Subject Analysis and Description of Political Cartoons." Advances in Classification Research Online. 19 (2008). Print.  Dougherty, B K. "Comic Relief: Using Political Cartoons in the Classroom." International Studies Perspectives. 3.3 (2002): 258-270. Print. Political Cartoons As a Vehicle of Setting Social Agenda: the Newspaper Example. Canadian Center of Science and Education, 2012. Internet resource. Krstic, A, N Vladisavljevic, and G Aiello. "Visual Metaphor and Authoritarianism in Serbian Political Cartoons." Media, War and Conflict. (2019). Print.
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