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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

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Volume 26, Issue 4


The sacred comedy: The problems and possibilities of Peter Berger's Theory of Humor

David Feltmate
Published Online: 2013-10-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2013-0036


Peter Berger is one of the world's best known sociologists of religion, having made significant contributions to the theories of the social construction of religious worlds and secularization theory. He is also a lay theologian who has never been shy about putting forth his religious interpretations of modernity and combining his theological concerns with his sociological insights. This article considers the role of humor in Berger's overarching theoretical framework, demonstrating its consistency over a thirty-six year period in his writings from The Precarious Vision (1961) to Redeeming Laughter (1997). After outlining his theory, Berger's arguments are criticized for their theological elements and a corrective is offered from the sociologies of humor and knowledge. The article concludes with a consideration of Berger's potential contributions to a sociology of religious humor and an invitation to future research on the topic.

Keywords: humor; religion; sociology; Peter Berger

About the article

David Feltmate

David Feltmate, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Auburn University at Montgomery where he studies the sociologies of religion, humor, popular culture, and knowledge. He has published other articles on religion and humor in popular culture in Religion Compass, Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, and The Journal of the American Academy of Religion and is currently working on a book length study of religion and humor in The Simpsons, South Park, and Family Guy.

Published Online: 2013-10-19

Published in Print: 2013-10-25

Citation Information: Humor, Volume 26, Issue 4, Pages 531–549, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2013-0036.

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

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