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International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

4 Issues per year

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Volume 24, Issue 4


“You're lying to Jesus!”: Humor and play in a discussion about homelessness

L. David Ritchie
Published Online: 2011-09-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humr.2011.027


This study applies recent theories about humor to a sample of talk among a group of young adults about the issues and problems associated with homelessness. In this conversation, participants demonstrate a pattern of joking and language play that expresses a complex and ambivalent set of attitudes and feelings toward homelessness and toward the homeless as both outcasts and refugees from conventional society. Humor is used both to express complex responses to homelessness and as a tool for managing the tone and direction of the conversation. The results demonstrate how the identification of patterns of joking and wordplay can provide insights into how people accomplish task-oriented objectives as well as relational and interactive objectives in everyday talk.

Keywords:: discourse; everyday talk; homelessness; humor

About the article

Published Online: 2011-09-13

Published in Print: 2011-10-01

Citation Information: Humor - International Journal of Humor Research, Volume 24, Issue 4, Pages 481–511, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humr.2011.027.

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L. David Ritchie and Elena Negrea-Busuioc
Metaphor and the Social World, 2014, Volume 4, Number 2, Page 174

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