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Conference Information

Full Title: Exploring Identities through Humor

Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Start Date: 16-Jul-2017 - 21-Jul-2017
Contact: Larissa Timofeeva-Timofeev
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: The panel “Exploring Identities through Humor” (organized by Larissa Timofeeva-Timofeev & Leonor Ruiz-Gurillo, University of Alicante, Spain) aims to provide an interdisciplinary framework for a fruitful reflection on how linguistic humor is used as an identity-building tool and as a psychosocial strategy. Humor, seen as a perfect combination of subversion and fun, becomes a powerful means towards cultural and personal affirmation, since its format allows speakers to voice opinions and ideas which would probably be inappropriate within a serious mode of communication.

Children learn to understand, to define and to state linguistically their different identities as a part of their cognitive, psychosocial and metalinguistic development (Erikson 1968, 1996; Gombert 1992; Eccles 1999; Santaemilla, Gallardo & Sanmartín 2002; Yus 2002; Litosseliti & Suderland 2012). Indeed, some research reveals that as early as age 2 years, girls and boys exhibit incipient gender awareness through their gender labeling (Zosuls et al. 2008, 2009). Different developmental achievements –such as physical independence, an awareness and control over the closest environment, the ability to cope with relatives, social and school demands, or the process of self-esteem building– enable the child to reflect on her or his individual role(s) in society and to make decisions about their relations with peers and adults. The development of so-called humor competence (McGhee 1979, 2002; Martin 2007; Hoicka 2014; Hoicka & Gattis 2008) runs parallel to all of these phases, since humorous procedures are frequently drawn on this understanding of themselves and the environment.

Later, as adults, speakers use humor in order to shape their sexual, political, religious, cultural, professional identity/ies (Lennox Terrion & Ashforth 2002; De Fina, Schiffrin & Bamberg 2006; Habib 2008; Schwartz, Luyckx & Vignoles 2011; Jenks, Lou & Bhatia 2015), and a variety of linguistic procedures are put into practice in their conversations with the aim to tackle many crucial social issues under an (apparently) humorous format. Along this line, studies on genderlect-building through humor (Crawford 1995; Yus 2002; Martin 2007; Ruiz Gurillo 2015) arise as one of the most promising research fields.

Finally, a comprehensive analysis of identities reflected through humor should also tackle a range of linguistic, cognitive, psychological and neurological disorders as long as they have an impact on humorous communication (e.g. SLI, ADHD, ASD, schizophrenia, etc.). A thorough approach to the specific features of humor interpretation and production related to these impairments (cfr. Martin 2007: 269-308; Samson 2013; Samson & Antonelli 2013; Tschacher et al. 2015) will enable researchers to formulate a more accurate description and to advance in the understanding of these alternative identities.

Contributions, in English and Spanish, concerning all of these topics are welcome.
Linguistic Subfield: Discourse Analysis; Language Acquisition; Pragmatics; Psycholinguistics; Sociolinguistics
LL Issue: 27.3642

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

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