Dualities in Humor: Incongruity Meets Ridicule
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This paper argues in favour of a fruitful assembling of traditional dualities observed in humour (disparagement vs. incongruity, positive vs. critical aspects). After reviewing misogelastic (i.e. denigrating) and carnivalesque (i.e. enthusiastic) positions, we attempt to classify and understand both the historical alternatives and their contemporary counterparts, particularly dealing with the social vs. the cognitive divide. Here it is championed that social and cognitive dimensions must be approached in an entangled way, as part of a social semiotics. In our view, reversal theory approaches have captured the essential complication in humour, the playful mode present in interaction, plus the asymmetry implied in interpretation. Then, both the social sides of sanction and solidarity in humorous practices and the incongruous and derisive aspects of cognitive humorous triggers, show interesting correspondences and what we here have called grid effects, i.e. the combination of ridicule and incongruity both with humorous and less humorous counterparts. Moreover, the basic duality of the social (with its disciplinary or rebellious aspects) and the cognitive (having an abrupt imbalance at its core) presumably responds to the origin of social rules, through embarrassment and shame, on the one hand, as well as to the original conditions of the human mind, working on extended connectivity and figuration, on the other hand, as two complementary sides of social semiotics.
Is part ofIsraeli Journal for Humor Research, 2017, vol. 6, núm 1, p. 121-143
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