Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …


International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.660
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.059

CiteScore 2017: 1.27

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.415
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 1.228

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 26, Issue 4


Getting dirty with humor: Co-constructing workplace identities through performative scripts

Zachary A. Schaefer
Published Online: 2013-10-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2013-0035


This paper shows how blue-collar workers co-construct humorous scripts to manage their workplace identities. It repositions humorous scripts as performative and highlights the process of co-construction to draw attention to the significance of script form and content during identity production. This case study is part of a year-long ethnographic project that identified the norms of blue-collar humor at a furniture moving company. It explores the process of co-constructing three humorous scripts: infusion, recalibration, and free behaviors (Ashforth and Kreiner 1999). The article shows the paradoxical processes through which employees used the scripts, both as a form of resistance to and a reinforcement of negative stereotypes. By showing how the scripts were used to resist and to reinforce negative stereotypes regarding blue-collar identities, the study concludes with several implications for identity management research. The three humorous scripts served as the discursive means through which workers navigated and reified their occupational identities.

Keywords: workplace humor; resistance; dirty work; performative scripts; ethnography; identity work; context

About the article

Zachary A. Schaefer

Zach Schaefer (Ph.D., Texas A&M University) teaches organizational communication and a variety of courses related to conflict management, leadership, and small group development within organizational contexts. His primary research interests are the tensions between organizational action and structure, organizational humor, and the conflict management process. His work has appeared in Management Communication Quarterly, The International Communication Association Handbook of Communication Ethics, and Communication Teacher. He thinks he has a sense of humor and enjoys conducting humor-based research.

Published Online: 2013-10-19

Published in Print: 2013-10-25

Citation Information: Humor, Volume 26, Issue 4, Pages 511–530, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2013-0035.

Export Citation

©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Miguel Moya and Susan T. Fiske
Journal of Social Issues, 2017, Volume 73, Number 1, Page 8
Chiara Volpato, Luca Andrighetto, and Cristina Baldissarri
Journal of Social Issues, 2017, Volume 73, Number 1, Page 192

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in