Television humour and preferred meanings in the Catalan identity debate

Luisa Martínez-García


This article analyses a sports-related satirical-parody television series as a generator of preferred meanings that may be associated with an ideological context of a stateless nation such as Catalonia, where the symbolic aspect is fundamental to the imaginary-building process. In this case, the research focuses on identifying whether representations of difference exist in the humorous content of the television series and, if they do, how they are represented and whether they propose imaginary boundaries. Through a quantitative and qualitative analysis in a satirical-parody television series about sports-related news, this study shows that humour generates symbolic boundaries between two spaces. While one of the spaces is in close proximity to the context in which the series is produced and broadcast –Catalonia–, the other encompasses the rest of Spain. In the same direction, humorous audiovisual text contains preferred and also dominant meanings, and these are expressed by how characters valuate other characters, situations, contexts, etc. The nature of the valuations proposes meanings that express the idea of a positive “us” and a negative “them”. Television humour acts as a cultural agent that proposes preferred meanings to the subject, and such meanings become part of the subject’s identity process.



television series; ideology; Catalan nationalism; fiction; humour and preferred meanings

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