Humour, Comedy and Laughter: Obscenities, Paradoxes, Insights and the Renewal of Life | BERGHAHN BOOKS
Join our Email List Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
Humour, Comedy and Laughter: Obscenities, Paradoxes, Insights and the Renewal of Life

View Table of Contents

Volume 8

Social Identities

See Related
Anthropology Journals

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

Humour, Comedy and Laughter

Obscenities, Paradoxes, Insights and the Renewal of Life

Edited by Lidia Dina Sciama

220 pages, 20 illus., 2 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-074-6 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (April 2016)

ISBN  978-1-78920-070-6 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (September 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78238-543-1 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This collection is like a charm bracelet. The essays are attractive and bright, but their interconnection derives largely from being gathered in one place. The general theme is anthropological—the collection presents humor as both a topic and a method in anthropological research—but the title is broad enough to permit scholarship from a wide variety of disciplines…. All the essays in this volume have something valuable to say and say it well.” · Choice

“All in all, the present volume is a notable contribution to understanding humor and comic performances. It clearly shows that humor is such a nuanced topic that in order to understand it in its complexity, one has to analyze it from a varied range of perspectives, sometimes through the study of seemingly unconnected phenomena.” · Anthropology Book Forum

“This book is a valuable contribution to the anthropology on humour as there is so little of it, despite the important place of humorous phenomena within social life. The wide variety of topics reflects the myriad ways humour may figure in different contexts: how in some cases it is an important aspect of the situation in question and in others it provides a specific lens through which to consider a topic.” · Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute

“…humour has been a fleeting theme in anthropology. This is surprising, since everybody laughs – although not at the same things, which makes humour rich with cultural context. That richness certainly emerges in the nine diverse chapters gathered here,.. Most revel in their material, offering readers plenty of interest.” · SITES – A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies

“There is no doubt that Lidia Dina Sciama’s edited volume… is an impressive, ambitious and timely volume. The subheading, Obscenities, Paradoxes, Insights and the Renewal of Life, seems a tall order for two hundred pages, but in their own ways, the editor and contributors have responded admirably to the challenge. While grounded in the field of social anthropology, this volume is also notable for its interdisciplinarity.” · JASO

“An interesting and unique read… Each scholarly contribution makes a creative effort to cross the traditional boundaries of anthropological theories and methods with other closely related disciplines. It is an excellent example of anthropological cross-disciplinary engagement with psychology, philosophy, aesthetics, film, and theater and music theory.” · Jana Kopelentova Rehak, University of Maryland, Baltimore County


Anthropological writings on humor are not very numerous or extensive, but they do contain a great deal of insight into the diverse mental and social processes that underlie joking and laughter. On the basis of a wide range of ethnographic and textual materials, the chapters examine the cognitive, social, and moral aspects of humor and its potential to bring about a sense of amity and mutual understanding, even among different and possibly hostile people. Unfortunately, though, cartoons, jokes, and parodies can cause irremediable distress and offence. Nevertheless, contributors’ cross-cultural evidence confirms that the positive aspects of humor far outweigh the danger of deepening divisions and fueling hostilities

Lidia Dina Sciama is former Director of the International Gender Studies Centre (formerly the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research on Women), University of Oxford, where she is currently a Research Associate. She is the author of A Venetian Island: Environment, History and Change in Burano (Berghahn 2003).

Subject: Anthropology (General)Cultural Studies (General)Media Studies


Back to Top

Library Recommendation Form

Dear Librarian,

I would like to recommend Humour, Comedy and Laughter Obscenities, Paradoxes, Insights and the Renewal of Life for the library. Please include it in your next purchasing review with my strong recommendation. The RRP is: $135.00

I recommend this title for the following reasons:

BENEFIT FOR THE LIBRARY: This book will be a valuable addition to the library's collection.

REFERENCE: I will refer to this book for my research/teaching work.

STUDENT REFERRAL: I will regularly refer my students to the book to assist their studies.

OWN AFFILIATION: I am an editor/contributor to this book or another book in the Series (where applicable) and/or on the Editorial Board of the Series, of which this volume is part.