The European Journal of Humour Research

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ISSN / EISSN : 2307-700X / 2307-700X
Total articles ≅ 267
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The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 58-73; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.4.581

Abstract:
This commentary piece offers some preliminary thoughts concerning the Greek memes produced since COVID-19 disease arrived at Greece at the end of February 2020, through identifying an analogy between the sociopolitical conditions in Greece-under-lockdown and Orwell’s Oceania in his 1984 novel. It is specifically argued that such texts constitute political humour commenting on the abrupt, yet pervasive changes attested due to state measures against the spread of COVID-19 disease. To this end, memes collected from the social media are discussed and interpreted in comparison with extracts from Orwell’s novel to point to striking similarities between the 1984 sociopolitical context and the Greek one. It is, however, suggested that there is a significant difference between the two contexts: in Orwell’s dystopia, humour seems to have no place at all; on the contrary, humour thrived in Greece-under-lockdown, especially among participants in the social media, in the form of rapidly created and disseminated memes. Memory (a central notion in Orwell’s novel) emerges as a crucial factor for the production of such humour in contemporary Greece and for its absence from Orwell’s Oceania.
Marit Piirman,
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 189-208; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.4.580

Abstract:
Humour plays a significant role in everyday interactions. Individuals perceive humour differently and experience various emotions, from exaltation to umbrage. Therefore, providing humorous communication in customer service is challenging. The aim of this study was to investigate the perception of humour in a tourism customer service context. In the first part of the study, representatives of Estonian tourism companies were asked their opinions about using humour in communication with their clients. They provided examples of the use of humour in customer service situations, which were then evaluated by potential tourists in the second part of the study. The results of the evaluation were analysed in relation to the respondents’ sense of humour. The findings were discussed in line with the four implicatures of humour.
David Orlov
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 173-188; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.4.522

Abstract:
This article presents an ethnographic study of Bosnian humour during the siege of Sarajevo. The siege of Sarajevo, which followed the collapse of Yugoslavia, lasted four years. Despite the atrocities and war crimes committed against the residents of Sarajevo during this period, they are known for the spirit they demonstrated, and humour was a crucial element of this spirit. On the basis of two-month fieldwork in Sarajevo, I demonstrate how Bosnians employed humour to comment on this traumatic event, made sense of it, and coped with the experience. Although humour under extreme conditions is mainly viewed as a coping mechanism, by exploring the origins of Bosnian humour and stereotypes about Bosnians, I demonstrate that a notable humorous response to the traumatic events of the 1990s was more than a coping mechanism or just a response to this particular war. As I argue, a humorous attitude toward life in Bosnia belongs to people’s identity; it has developed historically as a response to the sufferings of a peripheral group in the region and, as a result, has become a cultural artifact belonging to Bosnians’ ethnic consciousness. In their attempt to preserve a sense of normalcy and restore dignity during the siege, Sarajevans continued to engage in their traditional humour, as doing otherwise would mean they had lost control over who they were.
Aziz Kholmatov
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 221-235; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.4.556

Abstract:
As a subject focused on teaching grammar forms needed for academic studies and genres of academic writing, Academic English may seem tedious at times. Sometimes it is a complex subject for students who are fresh to academia and it needs a peculiar didactic approach to provide a smooth transition of students from general to academic English writing at a university level. One of these approaches may be using humour during classes. The current research explores teacher-initiated humour in Academic English classes at the Westminster International University in Tashkent and its effects on students. Besides, it seeks answers to questions as to what types of humour teachers employ during the class mostly, how often they use humour, as well as students’ and teachers’ recommendations given on how to use humour in class. This study uses both qualitative and quantitative data extraction methods in the form of an online questionnaire with students and a semi-structured interview with teachers. Obtained results show that affective and social roles of humour, its quality of lessening anxiety, creates favourable conditions for students and teacher’s connectedness, which outweighs other humour’s roles. Besides, mnemonic and engaging roles of humour received solid support by the respondents. To obtain a more positive effect, it is recommended that teachers, when incorporating humour in class, apply a systematic approach. Humour should be planned beforehand and needs to be appropriate. Moreover, it should be used with moderation.
Miloš Ševčík
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 74-90; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.4.576

Abstract:
This study examines Louis Cazamian’s considerations on the nature of humour, which were influenced by Bergson’s theory of the comic as a contrast between life and automatism and Bergson’s idea of humour as a specific type of comic linguistic transposition. In this context, the paper draws attention to the critical function of humour in Cazamian’s understanding based on his embracing of Bergson’s conception of laughter as a critique of the automation of life. However, Cazamian’s speculating diverges from Bergson’s thoughts on humour and leads to the creation of an elaborated theory. Cazamian states that humour has an artistic status and attributes characteristics to it that Bergson attributes to works of art. In contrast to Bergson, who emphasises the distinction between art and the comic, Cazamian deems humour’s critical aspect to accord with its artistic status. While humour is attributed artistic status because it suggests the multifaceted or elusive character of reality, humour’s comic character entails ridiculing the inability or unwillingness to respect that reality has a comic character.
, Ganiu A. Bamgbose
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 20-34; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.4.564

Abstract:
Studies on humour in Nigeria have been extensively carried out from the perspectives of stand-up comedy and computer-mediated communication. There is a dearth of scholarly enquiries on humour in situation comedies (sitcoms). This paper investigates humour in the interactions of characters in Jenifa’s Diary and Professor JohnBull, with a view to accounting for the manifestations of humour, the humour strategies deployed and the functions that the humorous utterances serve in the sitcoms. The work is situated in Culpeper’s Impoliteness Theory. Eight excerpts from the sitcoms were subjected to pragmatic analysis. Two discourse functions of amusing and castigating are discovered in the data. The former serves the function of facilitating discourse and changing presumed power and status, while the latter serves the function of maintaining one’s own space and autonomy, and demanding respect. Allusion, parody, retort, tease, banter and putdown are the humour techniques employed in the sitcoms. The study corroborates the claim of earlier studies that humour in every sphere of language use serves certain functions beyond the interactional need to create amusement.
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 152-172; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.4.568

Abstract:
‘Dame Edna Everage’, a persona originally created by the Australian comedian Barry Humphries in 1955, is a character designed to simultaneously shock and amuse. Dame Edna voices (and satirizes) the discourse of ‘average’, older, politically conservative Anglo-Australians who feel compelled to ‘tell it like it is’ – no matter how offensive their opinions might be. In the Anglosphere, Edna’s humour is well understood and sustained international success has followed Edna for more than 60 years in Britain, Canada, the US and Australia. However, Edna occasionally misfires. In 2003, for instance, Edna’s satire outraged Latinos across the USA, in fulfillment of Poe’s Law (Aikin, 2009). Simply put, Latinos assumed that Edna’s comments satirising negative mainstream attitudes towards them were expressive of Edna’s authentic racism. This paper investigates the Edna joke in the overall context of failed humour and then specifically for the offensiveness it generated amongst the Latino minority in the United States. It then tests whether this reaction was the result of a discursive frame specific to the US context, by conducting an exploratory study amongst a small sample of highly educated Australian bilingual Latin American immigrants and their adult children, to see whether they thought Edna’s joke was funny. These Australian individuals of Latin American heritage responded via an online questionnaire, and an analysis of their responses is presented here. The study’s main finding is that while these individuals generally demonstrated a high comedic literacy across both English and Spanish, including a prior awareness of Edna’s and Australian humour, they overall rejected the intention and humour of Edna’s joke. This paper asserts that, when it comes to humour, some transnational migrant speech community loyalties transcend other notions of identity and language competence.
Ying Cao, Chong Han, ,
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 110-130; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr.2021.9.4.585

Abstract:
This paper looks at the importance of aggressive humour in the discursive construction of a ‘Yakshini’ character in a popular Chinese sitcom, Ipartment. The exaggerated, aggressive nature of such a stereotypical character undermines traditional cultural norms of Chinese femininity. Such characterisation of a heroine through aggressive humour in a popular sitcom reflects the fact that empowering women has become (or is becoming) more acceptable in contemporary China.
, Fátima García-López
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 35-57; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.4.558

Abstract:
The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted a crisis with consequences for public health, but also with economic, social and cultural implications that have affected all layers of society to a greater or lesser extent. Communication has been impacted by the immediacy and virality of messages and misinformation has galloped across social platforms. Against that backdrop, memes have emerged as a powerful means to channel citizen sentiment. A study of these digital objects is essential to understanding social network-based communication during the pandemic. The qualitative research reported here analyses the role of memes in communication on Covid-19, studies their development and defends their status as one of this generation’s cultural artefacts that, as such, merits preservation. Meme evolution is studied using Kübler-Ross’s stages of grief, which has been applied in a number of contexts involving psychological change. Studying memes in those terms both brings information on the evolution of citizens’ concerns to light and proves useful to sound out social media communication around the pandemic media. The challenges to be faced in meme preservation are defined, along with the ways in which heritage institutions should ensure the conservation of these cultural objects, which mirror early twenty-first century communication and world views and in this case provide specific insight into one of the most significant historic circumstances of recent decades.
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 1-19; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.4.535

Abstract:
There is an ample evidence supporting the benefits of instructional humour, among which increased attention and interest, information retention and learning speed, more productive learning environment, a more positive image of the instructor, more efficient acquisition of linguistic and cultural competencies, an increased conversational involvement, enhanced cultural awareness and more stimulated critical thinking. However, most of the research findings rely on what is termed appropriate humor such as puns, jokes, anecdotes and alike, while potentially offensive humour that relates to sexual, ethnic, religious, political identity is generally labeled inappropriate and advised to be avoided in the classroom environment. It is in this particular context that this study seeks to test the potential of such humour, sexual and ethnic in particular, to act as a tool of increasing cultural awareness and stimulate critical thinking among university students. To do so, the study relies on an experimental class design combining few in-class and extracurricular activities created by using sexual and ethnic humour samples.
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