The practice of parodying: YouTube as a hybrid field of cultural production

Lillian Boxman-Shabtai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Parody is so pervasive in participatory culture that it is described as a central component of Internet vernacular. Valuable insight has accumulated about parodies as artifacts, however, little is known about their creators. Drawing on the sociology of culture, this article explores YouTube music video parodies as a field of cultural production. Through interviews with 22 YouTubers recruited from a sample of top-ranked parodies, it examines the relationship between practitioner characteristics and their evaluation of parody. Contrary to other studies of participatory culture, the field was predominantly male in its participation and norms. It presented a divide between ‘strategic’ and ‘passionate’ practitioners who used parody to different ends. Nevertheless, interviewees valued similar attributes of parody, often diverging from scholarly definitions of the genre as critical commentary. This dynamic and the genre’s popularity are explained by the hybrid qualities of the field, which encourage diverse uses of parody.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3-20
Number of pages18
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • YouTube
  • field
  • gender
  • parody
  • participatory culture
  • popular music
  • practice


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