On Humour

On Humour : Its Nature and Place in Modern Society

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This is a wide-ranging investigation into the nature of humour and its place in present-day British and North American society. From dirty jokes to feminist cartoons, from dinner-table wit to situation comedies, Michael Mulkay examines the principles behind our sense of humour. Mulkay argues that humour is designed to produce incongruity and internal contradiction and as a result is normally kept separate from the serious side of life. Paradoxically, however, it is this very separation which enables us to use humour for serious purposes. Mulkay explores the interplay between humour and seriousness in the dynamics of personal interaction, in the operation of formal social structures, in the political processes of democratic societies and in the commercial production of mass culture. "On Humour" contains detailed analysis which should interest not only sociologists but also psychologists, social anthropologists, linguists, political scientists, students of women's studies and the mass media and the general reader interested in the peculiarly human phenomenon of humour.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 166.9 x 231.9 x 28.2mm | 716.68g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745605435
  • 9780745605432

Table of contents

Acknowledgements ; Introduction ; 1. The Humorous Mode ; 2. Serious Discourse and the Duality of Humour ; 3. Semantics and Signals ; 4. Informal Humour ; 5. Putting Humour to Work ; 6. Laughter as Social Action ; 7. The Social Significance of Sexual Jokes ; 8. Sexual Humour and Gender Relationships ; 9. Humour and Social Structure ; 10. The Mass Production of Humour ; 11. Humour and Political Action ; 12. The Mute Voice of Humourshow more

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