R. Lance Holbert: Political Satire Defining a Nebulous Construct

Abstract: Political satire is a complex form of political discourse that is evident in democratic media systems across the globe. Its diversity has led many to argue that it is impossible to put forward a proper definition that encompasses all of its seemingly infinite permutations, and all extant attempts to define this unwieldy concept have been met with much criticism. Not one communicative act can be studied and understood properly without being well defined. Studies of political satire are on the rise and much knowledge has been generated over the last decade. However, these lines of research will fall into stagnation if the central communication construct driving these efforts is not explicated with the necessary precision. This essay offers a comprehensive definition of political satire in an effort to create a foundation from which this area of study can continue to flourish.