Michael Billig's Laughter and ridicule : towards a social critique of humour PDF

By Michael Billig

F̀rom Thomas Hobbes' worry of the ability of laughter to the obligatory, packaged "fun" of the modern mass media, Billig takes the reader on a stimulating travel of the unusual global of humour. either an important paintings of scholarship and a singular contribution to the certainty of the humourous, this can be a heavily enticing ebook' - David Inglis, collage of Aberdeen. This pleasant publication tackles the prevailing Read more...

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22). The distinction between positive and negative forms of humour is by no means confined to popular writers of psychology. Academic researchers of the highest quality in their field tread the same path. Lefcourt, for instance, distinguishes ‘positive humour’ that ‘encourages group solidarity’ from ‘negative or aggressive humour that separates, divides and excludes’ (2001: 72). : 72). Despite its supposed weight, Lefcourt does not elaborate on this distinction. : 72). This further distinction implies that ridicule and mockery, even if they provoke laughter, cannot be genuinely funny.

Qxd 22/06/2005 15:57 Page 38 Laughter and Ridicule nor did they proclaim their own credentials as possessors of life-enhancing senses of humour. Consequently, misogelasts often had less ideological need to deny what must be hidden today, although they might have had other secrets to conceal from themselves. As will be seen, disciplinary ridicule could be openly admitted and even praised in ways that are uncomfortable today. But there is more. Misogelastic theories have also provided the groundwork for present understandings.

For their part, the rhetoricians such as Gorgias did not like to think of themselves in this way. They claimed to have a higher calling. Typically they would say that they instructed their students in the most moral and aesthetic ways of speaking. Plato, in the guise of Socrates, was to lambaste the rhetoricians again and again for trying to have it both ways: either they were concerned with swaying an audience or they were concerned with truth. There was no middle ground. Aristotle’s comment on humour in Rhetoric was offering a piece of pragmatic advice for influencing an audience.

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