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Conference Information

Full Title: Laughing at the 'Other': Critical Pragmatic Insights

Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Start Date: 16-Jul-2017 - 21-Jul-2017
Contact: Jan Chovanec
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Laughing at the 'other': Critical pragmatic insights into the humorous construction of opposing groups

Jan Chovanec (Masaryk University, Brno)
Villy Tsakona (Democritus University of Thrace, Alexandroupoli)

Having enjoyed an increasing popularity among scholars over the past couple of decades, the issue of humour has developed an extensive body of research in linguistic pragmatics. This panel aims to develop that tradition by focusing on humour explicitly involving the ‘other’. However, while the ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ dichotomy is a recurrent theme in humour pragmatics, the issue has a broader significance: the analysis of humour involving the ‘other’ can reveal broader social practices, i.e. the ideologies, stereotypes and social beliefs that underlie the relationship between such mutually opposed groups. To this end, the present panel calls for a multidisciplinary approach enriching pragmatics with insights from critical discourse studies in order to explore how the mutual contrast of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ operates, what forms the relevant humorous acts take, and what ends the targeting of ‘others’ ultimately serves.

Being central to much humour, the notion of the ‘other’ features in various forms in some of the theories of humour. It plays a role, for instance, in the superiority theory, as well as in incongruity-based humour theories, where the mutually opposed semantic scripts often discursively construct differences between mutually opposed groups. Most attention to the ‘other’ has probably been paid in sociological accounts of jokes and short narratives since such short texts systematically draw on stereotypical representations of diverse ethnic and social groups, reminding us that such representations of the outgroup are imagined rather than real. Within the burgeoning field of the pragmatics of humour, the focus of the discipline has traditionally been on communicative micro-situations, affiliative/disaffiliative functions of humour, and politeness and face that typically involve individuals rather than groups.
Linguistic Subfield: Discourse Analysis; Pragmatics
LL Issue: 27.2932

This is a session of the following meeting:
15th International Pragmatics Conference

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