Chapter 9. Politics of taste in a post-Socialist state

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The link between jokes and social reality is visible in the way jokes adapt to different sociopolitical contexts by dealing with the most salient issues of such contexts. This chapter casts light on another facet of the relationship of jokes and their social context. Ideas about jokes are influenced by their social context, being continuously reformulated by social change or political manipulation. This case study analyses the official and unofficial media discourses that address the issues of taste and sense of humour, as emerging from a recent polemics about Estonian ethnic jokes. The different standpoints reflect ideas about the content and functions of the jokelore, characterising jokes either as an essentially racist or as a funny (i.e. harmless) genre.


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