Judging Jokes: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on ECtHR Jurisprudence

Activiteit: Academic presentationAcademic


This paper will focus on how courts of law deal with humor in its various forms—from stand-up comedy to cartoons and memes—in the context of free speech adjudication. Particular attention will be paid to recent jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights (such as Z.B. v. France), as well as to relevant cases from national courts within and beyond Europe.

The paper will address the following questions: How do judges deal with the subjectivity of humor, i.e. the fact that the same joke might be interpreted in different ways by different audiences? How exactly does humor blur the line between lawful speech and potentially harmful expression (e.g. hate speech)? And what are the new juridical challenges posed by humor in the digital age, as controversial material can easily circulate beyond its original context?

These issues will be approached from an interdisciplinary perspective, with special regard to how insights from literary, linguistic and semiotic approaches can contribute to achieving a more consistent approach to humor in court.
EvenementstitelPanel on Humor and the Law (ISHS 2022): International Society of Humor Studies
LocatieBertinoro, ItalyToon op kaart
Mate van erkenningInternational