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Palgrave Studies in Comedy

Comedy and the Politics of Representation

Mocking the Weak

Editors: Davies, Helen, Ilott, Sarah (Eds.)

  • Takes an interdisciplinary approach by including contributions from researchers in the fields of literature, media, film and sociology
  • Discusses a broad range of comedic forms, such as stand-up, television sitcom, radio broadcast and film, that covers a time period spanning from the early 20th century right up to present day
  • Focuses on identity politics and the intersections of identity which shape the power relations invoked in comedy 
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Buy this book

eBook £63.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-90506-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £79.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-90505-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This edited collection explores the representations of identity in comedy and interrogates the ways in which “humorous” constructions of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, class and disability raise serious issues about privilege, agency and oppression in popular culture. Should there be limits to free speech when humour is aimed at marginalised social groups? What are the limits of free speech when comedy pokes fun at those who hold social power? Can taboo joking be used towards politically progressive ends? Can stereotypes be mocked through their re-invocation? Comedy and the Politics of Representation: Mocking the Weak breaks new theoretical ground by demonstrating how the way people are represented mediates the triadic relationship set up in comedy between teller, audience and butt of the joke. By bringing together a selection of essays from international scholars, this study unpacks and examines the dynamic role that humour plays in making and remaking identity and power relations in culture and society.

About the authors

Helen Davies is Head of English and Creative Writing at Newman University, UK. She is the author of Gender and Ventriloquism in Victorian and Neo-Victorian Fiction: Passionate Puppets (Palgrave, 2012) and Neo-Victorian Freakery: The Cultural Afterlife of the Victorian Freak Show (Palgrave, 2015).
Sarah Ilott is Lecturer in Literature and Film at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. She is the author of New Postcolonial British Genres: Shifting the Boundaries (Palgrave, 2015).

Reviews

“What can comedy really tell us about the politics of representation? In this brilliant collection of essays which oscillates between On the Buses and This is England ’90 to Obama and Trump, Comedy and the Politics of Representation: Mocking the Weak panoramically explores representations of identity in comedy and shines new light on the ways in which questions of representation often uncover serious issues of both agency and oppression. An incisive and necessary book.” (Kirsty Fairclough, University of Salford, UK)

“This collection of essays covers a broad range of topics while also turning around a key critical concern with the politics of identity and representation.  It is a valuable contribution to the growing scholarship on humour and comedy, raising vital questions about the power dynamics and ethical issues involved in various comedic forms and genres.  I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in the role of humour in social relations and its use either to reinforce or resist existing divisions and inequalities.” (Michael Pickering, Loughborough University, UK)

“In a century of the Danish cartoons, #JeSuisCharlie, and #MeToo revelations about comedians’ sexual misconduct, it is clear that comedy is a serious business. Helen Davies, Sarah Ilott, and their contributors conduct fine-grained analysis of the ethics of comedy. Do satirists really speak truth to power, or could some be accused of punching down? Should comedy entail escapism and wordplay, or subversion and changing audiences’ mindsets? This book ranges widely through geographies and history to find answers.” (Claire Chambers, University of York, UK)

Table of contents (14 chapters)

  • Mocking the Weak? Contexts, Theories, Politics

    Davies, Helen (et al.)

    Pages 1-24

  • Taking Liberties? Free Speech, Multiculturalism and the Ethics of Satire

    Mondal, Anshuman A.

    Pages 25-41

  • Openness, Otherness, and Expertise: Uncertainty and Trust in Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle

    Hawkes, Rob

    Pages 43-59

  • British Multiculturalism, Romantic Comedy, and the Lie of Social Unification

    Ilott, Sarah

    Pages 61-77

  • Parodying Racial Passing in Chappelle’s Show and Key & Peele

    Bradbury, Janine

    Pages 79-97

Buy this book

eBook £63.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-90506-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £79.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-90505-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Comedy and the Politics of Representation
Book Subtitle
Mocking the Weak
Editors
  • Helen Davies
  • Sarah Ilott
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in Comedy
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-90506-8
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-90506-8
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-90505-1
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 262
Topics