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Humour, Comedy and Laughter

Obscenities, Paradoxes, Insights and the Renewal of Life

Edited by Lidia Dina Sciama

220 pages, 20 illus., 2 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-074-6 $90.00/£64.00 Hb Published (April 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78238-543-1 eBook

Hb   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Buy the ebook from these vendors

“This collection is like a charm bracelet. The essays are attractive and bright, but their interconnection derives largely from being gathered in one place. The general theme is anthropological—the collection presents humor as both a topic and a method in anthropological research—but the title is broad enough to permit scholarship from a wide variety of disciplines…. All the essays in this volume have something valuable to say and say it well.” · Choice

“There is no doubt that Lidia Dina Sciama’s edited volume… is an impressive, ambitious and timely volume. The subheading, Obscenities, Paradoxes, Insights and the Renewal of Life, seems a tall order for two hundred pages, but in their own ways, the editor and contributors have responded admirably to the challenge. While grounded in the field of social anthropology, this volume is also notable for its interdisciplinarity.” · JASO

“An interesting and unique read… Each scholarly contribution makes a creative effort to cross the traditional boundaries of anthropological theories and methods with other closely related disciplines. It is an excellent example of anthropological cross-disciplinary engagement with psychology, philosophy, aesthetics, film, and theater and music theory.” · Jana Kopelentova Rehak, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Anthropological writings on humor are not very numerous or extensive, but they do contain a great deal of insight into the diverse mental and social processes that underlie joking and laughter. On the basis of a wide range of ethnographic and textual materials, the chapters examine the cognitive, social, and moral aspects of humor and its potential to bring about a sense of amity and mutual understanding, even among different and possibly hostile people. Unfortunately, though, cartoons, jokes, and parodies can cause irremediable distress and offence. Nevertheless, contributors’ cross-cultural evidence confirms that the positive aspects of humor far outweigh the danger of deepening divisions and fueling hostilities

Lidia Dina Sciama is former Director of the International Gender Studies Centre (formerly the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research on Women), University of Oxford, where she is currently a Research Associate. She is the author of A Venetian Island: Environment, History and Change in Burano (Berghahn 2003).

Series: Volume 8, Social Identities
Subject: General Anthropology General Cultural Studies

LC: PN6149.S62 H835 2016

BISAC: SOC022000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Popular Culture; SOC002010 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/Cultural

BIC: JHMC Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography; JFC Cultural studies


List of Illustrations

Lidia Dina Sciama

Chapter 1. The Origins of Comic Performance in Adult-Child Interaction
Ian Wilkie and Matthew Saxton

Chapter 2. Learning from the Ludic: Anthropological Fieldwork
Judith Okely

Chapter 3. Humour as a Form of Cognition
Elisabeth Hsu

Chapter 4. Comic Strips and the Making of American Identity
Ian Rakoff

Chapter 5. Jokes without Frontiers, War without Tears: Humour, Stress and Power in an Anglo-German Bank Branch
Fiona Moore

Chapter 6. Laughing at the Future: Cross-Cultural Science Fiction Films
Dolores Martinez

Chapter 7. The English Pantomime: Toying with History, Playing with Gender, Laughing at Today
Shirley Ardener

Chapter 8. The Function of Satire in Italian Popular Song
Glauco Sanga

Chapter 9. Laughing at the Past among Venetian Islanders: Carlo Goldoni’s Scuffles in Chioggia
Lidia Dina Sciama

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