Discourse analysis of gender construction with reference to conversational humor in the situational comedy friends

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Discourse analysis of gender construction with reference to conversational humor in the situational comedy friends

 

Author: Yu Yating, Tiffany
Title: Discourse analysis of gender construction with reference to conversational humor in the situational comedy friends
Degree: M.A.
Year: 2013
Subject: Discourse analysis.
Television broadcasting -- Language.
Gender identity in mass media
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: iii, 78 pages : illustrations
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2687587
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/7657
Abstract: Traditionally, women's humor has often been described as supportive and cooperative, while men's is usually seen as competitive and aggressive, due to the social expectations of femininity and masculinity in American culture. This might lead to stereotyping of men and women both in the media and in reality. Humor as a significant mode of language can be used as a strategy to perform gender roles. This dissertation applies the frameworks of politeness (Brown and Levinson, 1987) and impoliteness theories (Culpeper, 1995) to investigate if the scripted television discourse in the situational comedy Friends has reflected the gender stereotypes in American society. Investigation of how conversational humor functions in gender construction in television discourse is conducted at the individual level by examining the use of different types of conversational humor and at the interactional level by examining the use of politeness and impoliteness strategies and the overall conversational styles of humor (e.g. supportive humor and contestive humor). The transcripts (season 4, episodes 1 to 9) were collected from an on-line fan club as the data corpus. The results indicate that the gender identification is constructed successfully in mirroring the gender stereotypes in American society from the perspectives of 1) conversational styles of humor, 2) the polite and impolite use of humor, and 3) certain distinct use of categories of conversational humor related to gender identification.

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