TWO REALMS AND A JOKE: BISOCIATION THEORIES OF JOKING

TWO REALMS AND A JOKE: BISOCIATION THEORIES OF JOKING INTRODUCTION What follows is a critical exposition of theories which interpret the joke as a mediation, or bisociation, occurring between two realms of meaning. The the- orists concerned - Bergson, Freud, Koestler, the Bateson 'school' of paradox theorists, Milner, and Douglas -- do not recognize that their works share this central point. This article maps out the domain of the theoretical interpretation of jokes. To interpret the joke as a bisociation occurring between divergent realms of meaning has many implications. In reviewing each theory we shall draw out the following points listed below which comprise the argument of this article: (1) By defining joking, the theorist creates a domain in which joking can occur. In doing so the theorist has created a model of society within which the joke as a social form operates and is contained. (2) Jokes or the act of joking arises out of the perception of the presence of two realms of meaning. As such, the joke constitutes a third realm, but because of its causal dependence on one or both of the two realms, it cannot be studied independently. (3) To locate the manifestation of jokes as arising from the comprehension of the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Semiotica - Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique de Gruyter

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Walter de Gruyter
ISSN
0037-1998
eISSN
1613-3692
DOI
10.1515/semi.1976.16.3.195
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

INTRODUCTION What follows is a critical exposition of theories which interpret the joke as a mediation, or bisociation, occurring between two realms of meaning. The the- orists concerned - Bergson, Freud, Koestler, the Bateson 'school' of paradox theorists, Milner, and Douglas -- do not recognize that their works share this central point. This article maps out the domain of the theoretical interpretation of jokes. To interpret the joke as a bisociation occurring between divergent realms of meaning has many implications. In reviewing each theory we shall draw out the following points listed below which comprise the argument of this article: (1) By defining joking, the theorist creates a domain in which joking can occur. In doing so the theorist has created a model of society within which the joke as a social form operates and is contained. (2) Jokes or the act of joking arises out of the perception of the presence of two realms of meaning. As such, the joke constitutes a third realm, but because of its causal dependence on one or both of the two realms, it cannot be studied independently. (3) To locate the manifestation of jokes as arising from the comprehension of the

Journal

Semiotica - Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotiquede Gruyter

Published: Jan 1, 1976

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