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Humour and the Plurality of Everyday Life

Comical Accounts from an Interface Area in Belfast

Tomoko Sakai

would have occasionally flinched at the stark differences between the two communities. Sandra's self-referential humour captured the perplexity shared by participants from both backgrounds. While conducting fieldwork or interviews on experiences of war

Open access

Matthias Pauwels

Welcome to the Minefield that is Race Humour In today's supposedly enlightened era, with great strides being made in the fight against racism driven by global anti-racist campaigns such as Black Lives Matter, it might be curious, not to say

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Social Criticism through Humour in the Digital Age

Multimodal Extension in the Works of Aleix Saló

Javier Muñoz-Basols and Marina Massaguer Comes

to reach the Spanish mass media as well as top-level politicians, including President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who confessed to having seen the video. 12 The popularity of Saló’s work is because of not only humour or drawing style, but also the

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Laughter in the Ghetto

Cabarets from a Concentration Camp

Lisa Peschel

they found so terrifying by joking about it? In this article I will argue that humour in the ghetto served as a vital coping mechanism. The notion of humour as a coping device in the ghettos and camps is not new. 3 My analysis, however, is motivated by

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The Mighty Walzer

The Grandiosity of Unserer

Aída Díaz Bild

very least , particles of masochism in it? 35 Jacobson does not believe that the masochism that defines Jewish humour reveals a lack of any sense of self-worth or a desire to see oneself punished: ‘The masochist accepts whatever criticism is made of

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J. Joost Beuving

This article argues that anthropologists in the field are often attributed the role of jester. Anthropologists are transient figures in the societies they study, and they stand out in behaviour or in physical appearance. Society symbolically resolves their strange presence with humour: anthropologists involuntarily elicit joking remarks and laughter. Over time, the role of jester may shade into one of accepted outsider, and that promotes direct observation. There is, however, a false romanticism attached to anthropological fieldwork that overlooks the anthropologist's role as jester. Such romanticism is reproduced by the forces of rationalisation in higher education that threaten students’ exposure to genuine anthropological fieldwork, and this compromises the depth of anthropological inquiry. Anthropology thus risks becoming the jest in the social scientific theatre: an exotic anecdote that is nice over drinks, yet without real scientific punch.

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Satirical Panels against Censorship

A Battle That Raged during the Spanish Transition

Gerardo Vilches

In mid-1970s Spain, many new satirical magazines featured a strong political stance opposing Francisco Franco’s regime and in favour of democracy. Magazines with a significant amount of comics-based content constituted a space for political and social critics, as humour allowed them to go further than other media. However, legal authorities tried to censor and punish them. This article analyses the relationship between the Spanish satirical press and censorship and focuses on the difficulties their publishers and authors encountered in expressing their criticism of the country’s social changes. Various cartoonists have been interviewed, and archival research carried out. In-depth analysis of the magazines’ contents is used to gain an overview of a political and social period in recent Spanish history, in which the satirical press uniquely tackled several issues.

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The invention of gender in stand‐up comedy

Transgression and digression

Marianna Keisalo

This paper explores gender in stand‐up comedy based on 20 months of ethnographic research in Finland and recent media discussion involving the booking of performers for a national comedy tour. As the vast majority of stand‐up comedians are men, discussions of gender tend to focus on the anomalousness of female comedians. These debates often rely on essentialist views of women and stand‐up comedy, presenting female comedians as transgressive due to the perceived incompatibilities of women and comedy. However, the situation in the clubs and performances is more complex. I chart this territory by looking at gender in relation to ‘invention’ and ‘convention’ in stand‐up comedy performance. I explore how some of the conventional, established and expected aspects of stand‐up, such as the public use of power and threat of failure, are related to ideas of gender. I then go on to show how comedy enables invention, new and/or unique ideas and forms. This allows comedians to approach and enact gender in more digressive ways: taking indirect, experimental paths and imaginatively shifting between perspectives and positions to subvert and question roles and patterns. As stand‐up becomes more diverse, discussing gender requires a more nuanced approach going beyond a simple binary.

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The Communist hero and the April Fool's joke

The cultural politics of authentication and fakery

Zhipeng Gao and Katherine Bischoping

In 1963, Chairman Mao made a national hero of an ordinary soldier named Lei Feng, said to have been inspired by collectivism to do countless selfless deeds. Sceptical observers inside and outside China disparage the persistent Lei Feng legend, judging it to be a laughably fraudulent construct of the Communist Party. We take this contrast as an opportunity to examine the cultural politics of authentication and fakery. We show that critics of the Chinese regime take the propagation of ‘inauthentic’ evidence to be indicative of a government based on illegitimate tactics, or of a credulous population. Meanwhile, research participants in China, who consider Lei Feng stories and artefacts to intermingle evidential and pedagogical representation, justify the state's curation of the legend for societal good. Second, we contrast Chinese and western discussions about a Lei Feng‐related trick that a western news agency is said to have played on China on April Fool's Day. Examining the different framings of this story – that of satire, practical joke, fake news and rumour – we argue that how the fake is decoded depends on what political ends it serves, which include the ideological legacy of the Cold War as well as contemporary USA–China competition.

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Ridiculous Empire

Satire and European Colonialism in the Comics of Olivier Schrauwen

Robert Aman

This article analyses the works of Olivier Schrauwen with a particular focus on his comic Arsène Schrauwen, which plays out in the colonial context of the Congo. It argues that Schrauwen’s comics exploit the formal qualities of the colonial adventure genre that is frequent in traditional European comics as a way of subverting and satirising them. It further argues that through a constant reliance on meta-references to other works and tropes recognisable from adventure tales, in combination with the adoption of a strict colonialist world view, Schrauwen humorously ridicules the asymmetrical binaries between coloniser and colonised.