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International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Kuipers, Giselinde / Ford, Thomas E.

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Fishy business: Humor in a Sardinian fish market

Leide Porcu1


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Citation Information: Humor - International Journal of Humor Research. Volume 18, Issue 1, Pages 69–102, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: 10.1515/humr.2005.18.1.69, July 2005

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Humor can ease social relations, be exploited to further productivity, and improve the environment and the general well being of the individual. Through humor people negotiate their value as men and demarcate insider/outsiders relations. At the same time, humor often interrupts the flow of work, slowing down productivity, and wasting time and money. Humor can also be exploited ambiguously to further self-interest and justify and re-interpret one's deceitful conduct. In the ambiguously humorous environment, people further their interests, crossing the boundaries of licit and illicit, offensive and acceptable behavior. Humor offers a place to dream a better reality, but it can also actually transform the context. Humorous topics revert around scatology, sex, gender, fish, and value manipulation. These are central fish market themes that define each other relationally. Whatever the practical purpose and the change of context that the jokes are aiming at, jokers construct primarily themselves and in the process they give sense to their life. In this paper I try to draw a picture in which the individual, with his desires and needs, and the culture at large come together.1

Keywords: Workplace; masculinity; language; Italy; fish market

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