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Stereotypes

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

Stereotypes are forms of representation that evaluate particular categories of people in homogenized, unyielding terms. They implicitly claim that those belonging to such categories have certain traits or characteristics that are absolute and unchanging. Those assigned to them are reduced to these traits or characteristics without qualification. When stereotypes are aligned with jokes or other comic modes, the stock features associated with them are the source and object of the humor, and the humor functions primarily as a way of ridiculing, demeaning, and belittling people outside of the social group that enjoys the humor. This entry examines what is involved in the relationship of stereotyping and humor; how their combination operates and has a determining effect on the humor; and how, at least to a ...

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