Queering Laughter? It was just a joke!
Humosexually Speaking - Laughter and the Intersections of Gender investigates the social function of humour produced in, against and about gender variant communities of speakers, in both verbal and multimodal forms. The editors’ leading idea was to ignite an academic discussion on the several and often hidden ways through which humour succeeds in constantly strengthening and/or re-interpreting, but also dismantling, the social dimension of language. One of the possible results of such a political and social act is the fostering of the cultural exclusion of some gendered, or rather de-generated – as some discriminated groups tend to be commonly alleged to be – minority communities. Additionally, since humour may also work to signify the recurring upsetting of pre-established social beliefs through the systematic threatening of the familiar, the normative, and what is universally deemed as socially acceptable or "normal", debates on any form of humorous self-representation of gendered identities were also vivid in the editors’ minds. In particular, it seemed fascinating to encouraging a discussion on the way LGBTI communities, just like other marginalised groups, would employ humour to support and reinforce their own in-group sense of community, by mocking typically stereotyped representations of gender variant people who laugh at and with themselves. Although LGBTI humour is still a very hot topic in our western world, one reason for the lack of a real academic confrontation on its social and political mechanisms resides in the very difficult challenge of defining it. Specifically, despite a convincing semantic linguistic theory of humour introduced by Raskin (1985) and later developed by Attardo (1994; 2001), the cultural mechanisms underlying some jokes laughing about human relationships by queering the scene, for instance, are still an unexplored topic.
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