Laughter may not be the most obviously fearsome weapon in the hands of governments or citizens, but it is one which political leaders seem to dislike to a surprising degree. Why are public figures so sensitive to satire, and are there public figures who are not?
Professor Rodney Barker is Emeritus Gresham Professor of Rhetoric, having held the chair between 2006 and 2009.
Professor Barker is Emeritus Professor of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he has been since 1971. He has an MA from Downing College, Cambridge, and a PhD from LSE. Professor Barker has been published widely and is regularly invited to address international conference. He writes and broadcasts on a range of topics, some directly related to scholarship, others not, and contributes to The Guardian, Tribune, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman, New Statesman and other journals.
Professor Barker's programme for his lectures as Gresham Professor of Rhetoric drew on history, political science and political theory. The lectures presented a perspective on the contemporary world and its government which drew on a broad range of modern scholarship in an informed and intelligently provocative manner, setting out the historical context of current events and the significance of general patterns of human activity.
All of Professor Barker's past lectures can be accessed here.