A qualitative study of humour theory.
Gordon, Robert Lawrence Payet.
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This qualitative study of humour theory provides a broad descriptive account of the current status of humour theory within the multidisciplinary context of human and social studies. The nature of qualitative research is examined in terms of its relevance to humour research studies. Qualitative research is found to be a generic term applying to a range of types of data collecting approaches that fall outside the ambit of quantitative paradigms. Quantitative methods are shown as having limited applicability to humour studies which are primarily reliant on data collecting. Humour is examined in terms of its biological, phylogenetic and historical antecedents. The emergence of schools of humour theory is discerned; and a study is made of changing social perceptions of humour in terms of the 'ruling discourse'. Humour theory is examined in terms of parameters of contemporary research which entails the processes of defining humour and theorizing about humour in terms of a variety of variables. Critiques are provided of Murdock and Ganim's macro-level descriptive study of humour definitions and theories as well as of Apter's reversal theory of humour. Reflectivity is employed as a qualitative approach to analyse the personal experience of a 'humorous event'. Attention is also given to the relevance of orality, oral tradition and anthropological perspectives to humour research. Finally, recommendations are made for further research.