Boundary-marking humor

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Drawing on recorded workplace meetings of Maori and Pakeha women in one New Zealand government department, this paper illustrates some of the complexities of boundary-marking humor. In particular, we analyse examples where the humor illuminates some of the tensions experienced by less powerful groups working within the institutional parameters or frameworks of more dominant groups or sources of influence. The relevant in-group shifts and the humor may correspondingly orient to boundaries dividing different institutional groups, different sexes, and different ethnic groups at different times. In each case, no members of the out-group are present and the humor functions to build solidarity and rapport between in-group members.


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