The Social Faces of Humour
Practices and Issues
First published in 1996, this volume is a sequel to Humour in Society: Resistance and Control which was edited by George E.C. Paton and Chris Powell. Now, seven years later, the culturally central nature of humour seems greater than ever.
This collection of original essays critically assesses the practices of humour in various role relationships in a number of social contexts, for example, in the workplace and between family members. A feature of this new volume is the critical analysis of socio-linguistic practices, including the use of jokes and cartoons, to manage tensions in social relationships at the micro- and macro-sociological levels of human interaction. Wider social and cultural issues area also examined by other contributors concerned with alternative comedy and sitcoms in British and Australian society, for example, which along with humour practices are situated by the editors in their introduction to substantiate the value of studying and researching the sociology of humour.
Table of Contents
1. The Politics of Laughter. Arthur Asa Berger. 2. Puritanical and Politically Correct? A Critical Historical Account of Changes in the Censorship of Comedy by the BBC. Christie Davies. 3. The Status of Verbal Humour in British Society: Contextual Aspects of English Humour. Richard J. Alexander. 4. ‘Down with Skool!’: The Perspective of Youth in Contemporary Western Humour. Jessica Milner Davis. 5. Humour at Work and the Work of Humour. George E.C. Paton and Ivan L. Filby. 6. Laughing on the Other Side of your PACE? An Analysis of Cartoons Appearing in Police Review 1979-1993. Chris Powell. 7. Mixed Feelings: Ambivalence, Sexuality and Cartoon Humour. Ruth Waterhouse. 8. ‘It’s Only a Joke’: the Role of Humour in Mother-in-Law Relationships. Pamela Cotterill. 9. The Sick Disaster Joke as Carnivalesque Postmodern Narrative Impulse. Richard J. Ellis. 10. Laughter in its Place. Stephen Hester. 11. Laughter, Footing and the Tolerantial Self. Greg Smith. 12. Stepping into Wayne’s World: Exploring Postmodern Comedy. Jason Rutter. 13. Everything Else is Propaganda: the Politics of Alternative Comedy. Stephen Wagg.
George E. C. Paton is Lecturer in Sociology at Aston University. He is the co-editor of and contributor to Humour in Society: Resistance and Control (Macmillan, London, 1988); he was President and Co-Chair of the 1995 International Humour Conference held at Aston University, Birmingham. Chris Powell is Lecturer in Criminology and Social Theory at the University of Wales, Bangor. He is the co-editor of and contributor to Humour in Society: Resistance and Control (Macmillan, London, 1988) and author of a number of articles on social control. Stephen Wagg is a writer and part-time lecturer at Leicester University. He is co-editor, with Dominic Strinati, of Come on Down? Popular Media Culture in Post-War Britain (Routledge, 1992) and editor of Because I Tell a Joke or Two: Comedy, Politics and Social Difference (Routledge, forthcoming). He also writes on sport and childhood.