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Dear Shit-Shovellers: Humour, Censure and the Discourse of Complaint

Discourse & Society , Volume 12 (5): 633 – Sep 1, 2001

Details

Publisher
Sage Publications
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 by SAGE Publications
ISSN
0957-9265
eISSN
0957-9265
D.O.I.
10.1177/0957926501012005004
Publisher site
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Dear Shit-Shovellers: Humour, Censure and the Discourse of Complaint

Abstract

In this article we analyse letters of complaint about instances of comic discourse where the humour is regarded as overstepping the mark and causing offence. We are particularly interested in how this sense of offence is registered and how complainants articulate the offence for which they seek some form of redress. In pursuing this interest, we seek to bring together two distinctive modes of analysis: linguistic discourse analysis and symbolic cultural analysis. This is methodologically appropriate to the discourse involved because of the ways in which epistolary complaints use forms of linguistic framing for offsetting potential objections to what they want to say, and because of the highly figurative language which is employed in voicing the substantive complaint and the censure of the humour that is entailed in this. Our focus overall is on the underlying ambivalence involved in negotiations between ethical and comic discourse.
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