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Title: The rhetoric of disparagement humor: An analysis of anti-semitic joking online
Authors: Weaver, S
Keywords: Anti-semitic humor;Disparagement humor;Internet humor;Rhetoric;Rhetorical analysis of humor
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: De Gruyter
Citation: HUMOR, 28(2): 327 - 347, (April 2015)
Abstract: Studies of humor informed by an understanding of rhetoric offer a number of conceptual tools for the analysis of disparagement humor. This article examines recent rhetorical approaches to humor analysis and evaluates their strengths and weaknesses. Where possible, it seeks to synthesise these approaches for what might be called an emerging methodological branch of humor studies. Although not all rhetorical analysts can be considered critical theorists, the article argues for the particular usefulness of these approaches for critical humor studies. A sample of 28 online anti-Semitic jokes is used to illustrate the various methods of rhetorical humor analysis. The discussion examines the fundamental assumptions, propositions, uniqueness and limitations of each theory. The central observation is that rhetorical humor analysis provides methods that add to disparagement theory. This central observation is supported by three points: that humor is structured with rhetorical devices that might, in various ways, convince; that the context of utterance influences the meaning of humor and thus the context of utterance is rhetorical; and, that the discursive content of humor provides the material to be reinforced.
ISSN: 1613-3722
Appears in Collections:Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Research Papers

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