Political Cartoons as communicative weapons – the hypothesis of the “Double Standard Thesis” in three Portuguese cartoons


  • Samuel Mateus Madeira Univertsity / Labcom.IFP / CIC.Digital


political cartoons, double standard thesis, visual rhetoric, framing, political communication


Political cartoons are a powerful communicative weapon. They can distract, joke but they can also provide social commentaries on key aspects of reality. Although not always acknowledged, cartoons are a key element on political communication. In this paper, we investigate editorial cartoons potential to political communication and take them as communicative artifacts capable of enhancing political comprehension and reconceptualization of events, through specific frames of understanding. By looking into the double standard thesis, by which cartoonists tend to contrast the posturing, destructive, wastage of politics with the purposive, constructive efficiency of business (Morris, 1992: 254), we try to assess if that same tendency to frame politics and business befalls as well in Portuguese political cartoons. Based on a notrepresentative sample, we proceed to a rhetorical analysis of three contemporary Portuguese political cartoons in which business tends to be associated with purpose and efficiency, while politics is portrayed as a wasteful, vain, otiose activity. By representing politics and business in such a dissimilar way, these cartoons tend to validate in Portugal the double standard thesis, and raises the possibility it can actually be applied to trans-national contexts.