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International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.558
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.084

CiteScore 2018: 1.00

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.367
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.614

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Volume 22, Issue 1-2


Humor theory and the fear of being laughed at

Christie Davies
Published Online: 2009-02-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/HUMR.2009.003


Systematic empirical research into the extent to which individuals in different societies fear being laughed at is new and has implications for humor theory. Humor theorists such as Hobbes and Bergson implicitly assume that such fears were generally at a high level and both Hobbes' superiority theory of laughter and Bergson's view of it as a social corrective depend on this assumption. They purport to be general theories but are in fact the product of the particular societies in which those philosophers' lived and whose mores they took for granted. However, we can use their work to generate hypotheses that can in the future be tested against the comparative empirical data now being produced. In particular we should pay attention is the social variables of shame, face, etiquette and embarrassment on the one hand, and hierarchy, status divisions and power on the other, as probably having explanatory power.

Keywords:: Bergson; conformity; face; fear; hierarchy; Hobbes; humor theory; laughter; shame

About the article

Published Online: 2009-02-13

Published in Print: 2009-02-01

Citation Information: Humor - International Journal of Humor Research, Volume 22, Issue 1-2, Pages 49–62, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/HUMR.2009.003.

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