Jokes And Their Relations

Overview

Almost everyone tells and appreciates jokes. Yet the nature of jokes has proved elusive. When asked what they really mean, people tend to laugh off the question, dismissing jokes as meaningless or too obvious to require explanation. Of those who have seriously sought to understand humor, most have explained jokes as expressions of aggression— a socially acceptable way of showing contempt and displaying superiority.

Elliott Oring offers a fresh perspective on jokes and related ...

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Overview

Almost everyone tells and appreciates jokes. Yet the nature of jokes has proved elusive. When asked what they really mean, people tend to laugh off the question, dismissing jokes as meaningless or too obvious to require explanation. Of those who have seriously sought to understand humor, most have explained jokes as expressions of aggression— a socially acceptable way of showing contempt and displaying superiority.

Elliott Oring offers a fresh perspective on jokes and related forms of humor. Criticizing and modifying traditional concepts and methods of analysis, he delineates an approach that can explain the peculiarities of a wide variety of humorous expression. Written in an accessible and engaging style, Jokes and Their Relations will appeal to anyone who has ever wondered how jokes work and what they mean.

Humor, Oring argues, depends upon the perception of an appropriate incongruity. The first step in understanding a joke, anecdote, or comic song is to unravel this incongruity. The second step is to locate the incongruity within particular individual, social, or cultural contexts. To understand the meaning of a joke, one must know something of its tellers, the social and historical circumstances of its telling, and its relation to a wider repertoire of expression.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Jokes and Their Relations brings together a number of essays on humour by Elliott Oring, one of America’s most insightful scholars of humour. It is a model of what the sociology of humour should be—scholarly, innovative, and clearly written without jargon. Anyone with an interest in humour from a sociological or anthropological perspective should read it.” —Reviewing Sociology
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412814393
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/1/2010
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Elliott Oringis professor emeritus of anthropology at California State University, Los Angeles. He is a member of the International Society for Humor Studies and a fellow of the American Folklore Society. He has published widely in the areas of folklore, humor, and symbolism and is the author of numerous books including The Jokes of Sigmund Freud, Humor and the Individual, and Engaging Humor.

Elliott Oringis professor emeritus of anthropology at California State University, Los Angeles. He is a member of the International Society for Humor Studies and a fellow of the American Folklore Society. He has published widely in the areas of folklore, humor, and symbolism and is the author of numerous books including The Jokes of Sigmund Freud, Humor and the Individual, and Engaging Humor.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition ix

Acknowledgments xix

1 Appropriate Incongruity 1

2 To Skin an Elephant: On the Presumption of Aggression in Humor 16

3 Jokes and the Discourse on Disaster 29

4 On the Structure of a Humorous Repertoire 41

5 Redundancy in Repertoire 53

6 Rechnitzer Rejects: An Unorthodox Humor of Modern Orthodoxy 67

7 Between Jokes and Tales 81

8 Freud and Humor: Analytic Reflections 94

9 The People of the Joke 112

10 Self-Degrading Jokes and Tales 122

11 Dyadic Traditions 135

Notes 145

Index 168

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