The Pragmatics of Humor: January 25th Revolution and Occupy Wall Street
AbstractThe study investigates the use of humor by the Egyptian demonstrators in January 25th Revolution and the American demonstrators in Occupy Wall Street Movement. It answers the questions how and why demonstrators use humor. This study explores how humor can be used as a strategy of nonviolent resistance to oppression and dictatorship. The study aims to recognize the pragmatic nature of humor and its explanation according to Grice's Cooperative Principles. It combines linguistic, sociological and psychological theories about humor with theory of speech act. Humor is considered in the study as speech act of declaring resistance to oppression. As a comparative study, it tries to find out the similarities and differences in the two events. Humor seems to have a powerful potential in facilitating outreach and mobilization. The findings of the study provide an outline of the functions of humor as a form of resistance.
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