Popular geopolitics and cartoons: Representing power relations, repetition and resistance

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This paper considers the popular geopolitical significance of cartoons and caricature. Using the work of the South African cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (Zapiro), I consider how the generic properties of the cartoon question and critique agents of state power including President Jacob Zuma. Such properties include condensation, simplification, repetition and exaggeration. While traditions of cartooning and caricature are well established in Europe and North America, African cartoonists such as Zapiro are increasingly recognized as producing work that addresses critically the spatialities of power and governance in the post-colonial and post-apartheid era. The engagement and reactions of audiences to such artistic interventions within and beyond countries - let alone continents - is, as the Danish cartoons crisis brought to our attention, a salutary reminder of the capacity of images to circulate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113
Number of pages131
JournalCritical African Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010


  • popular
  • geopolitics
  • cartoons
  • south africa
  • caricature

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