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Title: The 'Other' laughs back: humour and resistance in anti-racist comedy
Authors: Weaver, Simon
Keywords: Ambivalence
Reverse discourse
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: BSA Publications Ltd / Sage (© Simon Weaver)
Citation: WEAVER, S., 2010. The 'Other' laughs back: humour and resistance in anti-racist comedy. Sociology, 44 (1), pp. 31-48.
Abstract: This article outlines the ‘reverse discourses’ of black, African-American and Afro-Caribbean comedians in the UK and USA. These reverse discourses appear in comic acts that employ the sign-systems of embodied and cultural racism but develop, or seek to develop, a reverse semantic effect. I argue the humour of reverse discourse is significant in relation to racism because it forms a type of resistance that can, first, act rhetorically against racist meaning and so attack racist truth claims and points of ambivalence. Second, and connected to this, it can rhetorically resolve the ambiguity of the reverse discourse itself. Alongside this, and paradoxically, reverse discourses also contain a polysemic element that can, at times, reproduce racism. The article seeks to develop a means of analysing the relationship between racist and non-racist meaning in such comedic performance.
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1177/0038038509351624
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/6679
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038038509351624
ISSN: 0038-0385
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Social Sciences)

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