Cartoonists and Political Cynicism

Michael Hogan, University of Sydney


This article is designed to open up a fairly untested area in the study of politics — asking whether the impact of political cartoons is all benign, or whether an unrelieved diet of negative images may perhaps contribute to the level of cynicism for politics and politicians characteristic of many citizens in modern democracies like Australia. While the structure of the paper makes a number of categorisations of political cartoons, the accompanying discussion is intentionally tentative, posing questions rather than asserting conclusions.

Michael Hogan is a Research Associate of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, having retired after twenty years teaching in the Department of Government in 1997. He is the author of many books, including The Sectarian Strand (Penguin, 1987) and co-editor with David Clune of The People’s Choice (NSW Parliament and University of Sydney, 2001).

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