Charlie Hebdo and the Prophet Muhammad: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of Peace and Violence in a Satirical Cartoon

  • Laura KilbyEmail author
  • Henry Lennon
Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS)


In this chapter, we examine how ideologies of peace and violence can be (re)produced and communicated via multiple semiotic forms that include, but are not restricted to, language. We grapple with the complexity and importance of the situated-ness of peace and violence, and consider what does peace, indeed what can peace, look like in a social context where meaning and expression are both multiple and contested. To this end, we undertake a case study analysis, exploring how a multimodal text might be variously interpreted as an explicit display of peace and forgiveness, and yet simultaneously as an oppressive act which knowingly causes offence. In addressing these issues, we relate to Galtung’s (1996, p. 196) typology of violence, and we consider the issue of cultural violence, which he defines as ‘those aspects of culture, the symbolic sphere of our existence […] that can be used to legitimize direct or structural violence’.


Critical discourse analysis Cultural violence Discursive psychology Multimodal discourse analysis Peace psychology Political cartoons 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sheffield Hallam UniversitySheffieldUK

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