Humour: a serious issue in contemporary France
This introduction will briefly discuss the ways in which the January 2015 attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo provoked debates about humour and freedom of expression, as well as the limits of humour. It will argue that debates surrounding Charlie Hebdo are symptomatic of tensions and contradictions within French society when it comes to exploring multiculturalism and humour. It will also show that it is necessary to take a wider view that traces the evolution of debates about humour and the career trajectories of leading humourists. The last decade is a period during which stand-up comedy has grown in stature in France, and differing ways of evoking socio-political issues about French society have emerged.
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