Dori-Hacohen, Gonen, and Zohar Livnat. “Negotiating Norms of Discussion in the Public Arena: The Use of Irony in Israeli Political Radio Phone-In Programs.” Journal of Communication (early view; online first).
Phone-in radio programs are part of the public sphere and thus require open access, rationality, and practicality. Simultaneously, they are a media product, which requires entertaining content. We demonstrate these demands through the analysis of interactional irony in Israeli political radio phone-ins. From an emic perspective, callers see irony as detrimental to the discussions, yet hosts and regular callers use it to make entertaining interactions. Irony is a critical tool that points to violations of norms: the norm of a clear 2-sided interaction; norms akin to the Habermasian public sphere; and at the content level, irony is used to reject racist positions. Being indirect, irony can be used to create an entertaining yet critical discussion in the public sphere.