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Targets of Estonian Ethnic Jokes Within the Theory of Ethnic Humour (Ch. Davies)

Keywords: Ethnic humor , Theories , Scripts , Postsoviet

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Abstract:

The article aims to validate the main presuppositions of the theory of ethnic humour (see first and foremost Davies 1990, but also Davies 1987, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2002) in contemporary Estonian joke material. The author will pose hypotheses which will contest Davies’ conclusions on regularities in ethnic humour. Davies’ conclusions are largely built on the main binary oppositions and anecdote scripts manifest in mainly British humour tradition and the analysis of their social and societal factors, though he also analyses jokes about Jews (Davies 2002), briefly touches upon the ethnic humour (or, to be more precise, the lack of it, Davies 1998) of the Japanese and draws parallels from the entire English-speaking humour area (the anecdotes of the British, Welsh, Scots, Irish, Americans, Canadians, and Australians). Davies has not studied Eastern European jokes in greater length (except for Polish humour, which he introduces in comparing the American anecdotes about the Poles in Poland or among the Polish immigrants in the United States). This study aims to add to Davies’ theory of ethnic humour valuable comparative and additional material on joke scripts, characters and the potential reasons behind their being chosen in non-English- speaking (and a politically more turbulent) culture area.

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