Laugh with Us, Not at Us: Parody and Networked Learning

Part of the Research in Networked Learning book series (RINL)


At the 2018 Networked Learning Conference, a paper attempting to parody conventions of networked learning papers provoked some discussion. Christine Sinclair asks why there is little or no parody of networked learning: perhaps the field is not sufficiently distinct from other social science writing. Although there is some use of parody in networked learning practice, its academic writing tends not to go beyond parodic allusion. And yet networked learning as a phenomenon uses intertextuality, double voicing, challenges to authority, multimodality and exploration of boundaries which all resonate with the aims of parody. This chapter promotes the value of laughter in encouraging dialogue and renewal, based on Bakhtin’s understanding of parody. This leads to an analogy with the novel in its literary sense as well as in the sense of ‘the new’. Like the novel, perhaps networked learning is itself too unbounded to be imitated, satirised or belittled. The questions raised are left unanswered and open to further dialogue; it seems parody may have something to offer but could feel too risky for contemporary busy academics. Yet networked learning could be in the forefront of new forms of dissemination.


Carnival Dialogue Genre Intertextuality Multimodality 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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