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Scatology

  • By: Simon J. Bronner
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Scatology is a biological term for the study of excrement and excretion, but it is also used in folkloristic studies to refer to speech, rituals, narratives, pranks, and songs with or about feces, urine, excretion, and anally produced emissions such as flatulence. It is in this cultural sense that scatology commonly relates to humor. A scatological analysis typically interprets the symbolism and function of feces in these expressions by referring to social and psychological attitudes toward the material. Central to this analysis is the idea that excrement and excretion are taboo subjects related to the body, usually kept private and hence comparable to other risqué topics in humor such as sexuality. In humor studies, different theories have been proposed for what renders this serious, ...

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