The New Atheist Movement in the Blogosphere: Burlesque and Carnivalesque as Rhetorical Strategies in Visual Productions


This paper examines the visual production of the New Atheist Movement in the Blogosphere. The new atheist movement appeared as an action to fight the exclusion and alienation of atheists' beliefs in the U.S. religious discourse. I argue that the images of New Atheism use burlesque and carnivalesque as rhetorical strategies.
Result, in the public sphere, the New Atheist movement uses burlesque images to criticize the major religion in the U.S. by critiquing the power dynamic between religion and humanity. The atheists also criticize the relevance of religion with contemporary issues and offer an alternative perspective focusing on human empowerment, science, and technology. The burlesque strategy finally functions to foster in-group identification by comparing atheism with other beliefs. Meanwhile, the carnivalesque images function to uncover the problematic social discourse from the atheistic point of view. When employing a carnivalesque approach in their visual discourse, proponents of New Atheism counter the status quo and offer the “atheist good news.” Through carnivalesque images, atheists reconcile their perspectives and identity within society The analysis on this paper is not only identifying burlesque and carnivalesque strategies of images in the blogosphere, but also to contribute to the understanding of how symbols function in religious discourse in the U.S. I conclude the paper by examining that in atheists’ (digital) enclaves, they build their subaltern identity and then expand into the broader public sphere, seeking points of connection between themselves and theists.

Author Information
Desideria Murti, University of Atma Jaya Yoguakarta, Indonesia

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2013
Stream: Media Studies

This paper is part of the MediAsia2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Murti D. (2014) The New Atheist Movement in the Blogosphere: Burlesque and Carnivalesque as Rhetorical Strategies in Visual Productions ISSN: 2186-5906 – The Asian Conference on Media & Mass Communication 2013 – Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon