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Manlighet - skämt eller allvar?: humor som redskap i mäns förhandlingar om mansrollen
Gotland University, School of the Humanities and Social Science.
2012 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Masculinity - jest or earnes : humor as a tool in men's negotiation of the male role (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

This in an essay concerning the use of humor in male communication. Primarily, I have focused on studying how jokes can be used as a sanction for the training of members in a (male) group. I have found great inspiration in Goffman’s thoughts on a social face and the use of humor to protect this perceived face.

Initially I started to reflect on men’s reluctance to discuss masculinity and their thoughts about the meaning of being a man. Every time I tried to hold a serious conversation, my male friends made a joke out of it. I seemed to meet a tirade of stereotypes and ironic statements. I started to think that maybe men can’t talk about masculinity in groups because of a fear of losing face? Maybe it might be so, that the concept of being a “real man” is so diffuse and loose that men today don’t know what we expect of them? This uncertainty affects men’s social life; there is a need for common ground and security.

In order to express an opinion about the act joking as well as the use of humor in male community, I first tried to familiarize myself with the prevailing notions of masculinity. I learned that the group is a powerful resource for promoting the use of stereotypes as well as the use of humor to create a sense of belonging or penalize those who do “wrong”. Jokes of all kind, friendly emphasis as well as more aggressive forms thrive in groups. I also noted that the type of humor is different in single-sex groups compared to humor in mixed gender groups. In addition to discussing the weight of group mentality I also write about body language, the importance of the ambiguity of humor and how humor can sanction in two ways:

  • Laughter from the group: The target is sanctioned
  • Laughter fails: The source gets sanctioned


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 60 p.
Keyword [en]
humor, male community, sanction, group, face, ethnology
Keyword [sv]
humor, manlighet, gemenskap, grupper, ansikte, etnologi
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:hgo:diva-1360OAI: diva2:506268
Subject / course
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2012-02-29 Created: 2012-02-28 Last updated: 2013-07-01Bibliographically approved

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Malén, Alexandra
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