CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

The front cover of the issue of Charlie Hebdo published a week after the attack on its editorial staff in January 2015 raises a thorny question: is it possible to separate caricature from blasphemy? This article draws upon Jeanne Favret-Saada’s pragmatic analyses of blasphemy and supplements them with semantic and sociological insights in order to address the tension between the familiar and politics that characterizes caricature. Cartoons can belong to two different registers: the affective register of the familiar, and the critical register of degradation. In the case of public figures, degradation plays a political function, related to the critique of power. Analysis of the press conference in which Luz presented the front page showing Muhammad provides an opportunity to reflect on this tension between criticism and attachment, and to address the problematic influence that denunciation of “blasphemy” may exert on the pluralistic structure of the public sphere.


  • blasphemy
  • Charlie Hebdo
  • public sphere
  • pragmatics
  • religion
  • actantial scheme
  • semantics
  • sociology of communication
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