Manlighet - skämt eller allvar? : humor som redskap i mäns förhandlingar om mansrollen
This in an essay concerning the use of humor in male communication. Primarily, I have focused on studying how jokes can be used as a sanction for the training of members in a (male) group. I have found great inspiration in Goffman’s thoughts on a social face and the use of humor to protect this perceived face.
Initially I started to reflect on men’s reluctance to discuss masculinity and their thoughts about the meaning of being a man. Every time I tried to hold a serious conversation, my male friends made a joke out of it. I seemed to meet a tirade of stereotypes and ironic statements. I started to think that maybe men can’t talk about masculinity in groups because of a fear of losing face? Maybe it might be so, that the concept of being a “real man” is so diffuse and loose that men today don’t know what we expect of them? This uncertainty affects men’s social life; there is a need for common ground and security.
In order to express an opinion about the act joking as well as the use of humor in male community, I first tried to familiarize myself with the prevailing notions of masculinity. I learned that the group is a powerful resource for promoting the use of stereotypes as well as the use of humor to create a sense of belonging or penalize those who do “wrong”. Jokes of all kind, friendly emphasis as well as more aggressive forms thrive in groups. I also noted that the type of humor is different in single-sex groups compared to humor in mixed gender groups. In addition to discussing the weight of group mentality I also write about body language, the importance of the ambiguity of humor and how humor can sanction in two ways:
- Laughter from the group: The target is sanctioned
- Laughter fails: The source gets sanctioned
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