Laughter and Ridicule: Towards a Social Critique of Humour

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Michael Billig

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  • Theory, Culture & Society

    Theory, Culture & Society caters for the resurgence of interest in culture within contemporary social science and the humanities. Building on the heritage of classical social theory, the book series examines ways in which this tradition has been reshaped by a new generation of theorists. It also publishes theoretically informed analyses of everyday life, popular culture, and new intellectual movements.

    EDITOR: Mike Featherstone, Nottingham Trent University

    SERIES EDITORIAL BOARD

    Roy Boyne, University of Durham

    Mike Hepworth, University of Aberdeen

    Scott Lash, Goldsmiths College, University of London

    Roland Robertson, University of Aberdeen

    Bryan S. Turner, University of Singapore

    THE TCS CENTRE

    The Theory, Culture & Society book series, the journals Theory, Culture & Society and Body & Society, and related conference, seminar and postgraduate programmes operate from the TCS Centre at Nottingham Trent University. For further details of the TCS Centre's activities please contact:

    Centre Administrator

    The TCS Centre, Room 175

    Faculty of Humanities

    Nottingham Trent University

    Clifton Lane, Nottingham, NG11 8NS, UK

    e-mail: tcs@ntu.ac.uk

    web: http://tcs.ntu.ac.uk

    Recent volumes include:

    Sex and Manners

    Cas Wouters

    The Body in Culture, Technology and Society

    Chris Shilling

    Globalization and Belonging

    Mike Savage, Gaynor Bagnall and Brian Longhurst

    Bootlegging

    Lee Marshall

    Copyright

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    Acknowledgements

    A book on humour should have been enjoyable to write. For some reason, it did not turn out that way. In fact, there have been many days when I wished I'd undertaken a less ostensibly pleasant task. So, I am grateful for friends and colleagues who have given encouragement. I am particularly grateful to those who have read drafts of chapters: Steve Brown, Mike Gane, Dave Middleton, Yair Neuman, Thomas Scheff, and John Shotter. And thanks too to Susan Dunsmore for making the copy-editing such fun.

    I feel particularly fortunate to work in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University. It has provided a happy home for me, being surrounded by colleagues who are willing to discuss ideas and to laugh at the world. Once again, I should pay tribute to Peter Golding who has unselfishly managed to protect the department against the demoralizing pressures undermining so much British academic life.

    Finally, of course, I would like to thank my family – to Sheila and to our children Daniel, Becky, Rachel and Benjamin. A conventional sense of humour often calls for an element of malice. Certainly the children and I have teased, mocked and laughed at each other in the ways that families do. But over the years, Sheila, like her mother before her, has demonstrated that there are far more important, far more serious virtues than the ability to make jokes. So this book is dedicated to Sheila and to the memory of her mother.

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