Political TikTok: Playful performance, ambivalent critique and event-commentary

Natalia Sánchez-Querubín, Shuaishuai Wang, Briar Dickey, Andrea Benedetti

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


During the U.S. presidential election of 2020, TikTok, an app known for lip-synching and remixes of popular media, became a tool for ludic civic engagement, ambivalent critique and event-commentary. More specifically, TikTokers practiced types of engagement such as playful political performance, in which they express sentiments about a candidate by dancing or singing. They also practice remix as ambivalent critique by juxtaposing news clips and music to comment on current events. These examples evoke genres of ludic civic engagement such as flash mobs and tactical clowning while also exhibiting qualities specific to TikTok. The rhetorical power of playfulness and remix lies in distorting, exaggerating, and dramatizing; on TikTok, these practices are mainstream rather than fringe, raising questions about the contribution of the platform to political discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Propagation of Misinformation in Social Media
EditorsRichard Rogers
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2023

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