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Bisociation

  • By: Arvo Krikmann
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Bisociation, or the mental association of an idea or object with two separate fields that are ordinarily seen as unrelated, is the key concept in Arthur Koestler's (1905–1983) theory of humor in his book The Act of Creation (1964). This work is, alongside Sémantique structurale (Structural Semantics) by Algirdas Julien Greimas (1966), one of the two significant attempts that were made in the 1960s to embed units with twofold planes of meaning, including humor and figurative speech, into the broader supersystems of theories of creativity and general semantics.

Greimas's interests were not specifically focused on the theory of humor or the theory of figurative speech, but on establishing a deductive theory of general semantics. One of the basic concepts of his theory is the notion of ...

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