English speaking culture has a long tradition in which Italian stereotypes are exploited for comic purposes in a wide range of humorous discourse. From joke forms to films, television programmes and advertisements, Italians are widely depicted as being cowardly, noisy and disorganised. When they are not represented as Latin lovers, they appear either eternally attached to their mother’s apron strings, obsessed with food or else as members of criminal, mafia-style organizations. Davies (1998) argues that certain types of ethnic humour, i.e. when the outsider is in some way portrayed as an ‘underdog’ by the central group, arise from feelings of economic and/or sexual fear of a consolidated and well established group towards the new ‘peripheral’ group entering their society. Thus it is hardly surprising that migrants are the butt of jokes in many cultures (the Irish in England; Poles in the USA; etc.). But how do the actual objects of such humour, i.e. Italians living at the fringe of the central group, react to being the butt of comic discourse? This essay will describe the results of a small-scale questionnaire based investigation in which Anglo-Italian migrants reveal their attitudes towards diverse types of humorous discourse containing Italian stereotypes.

Laughing at or laughing with ? Italian comic stereotypes viewed from within the peripheral group.

CHIARO, DELIA CARMELA
2010

Abstract

English speaking culture has a long tradition in which Italian stereotypes are exploited for comic purposes in a wide range of humorous discourse. From joke forms to films, television programmes and advertisements, Italians are widely depicted as being cowardly, noisy and disorganised. When they are not represented as Latin lovers, they appear either eternally attached to their mother’s apron strings, obsessed with food or else as members of criminal, mafia-style organizations. Davies (1998) argues that certain types of ethnic humour, i.e. when the outsider is in some way portrayed as an ‘underdog’ by the central group, arise from feelings of economic and/or sexual fear of a consolidated and well established group towards the new ‘peripheral’ group entering their society. Thus it is hardly surprising that migrants are the butt of jokes in many cultures (the Irish in England; Poles in the USA; etc.). But how do the actual objects of such humour, i.e. Italians living at the fringe of the central group, react to being the butt of comic discourse? This essay will describe the results of a small-scale questionnaire based investigation in which Anglo-Italian migrants reveal their attitudes towards diverse types of humorous discourse containing Italian stereotypes.
2010
Hybrid Humour: Comedy in Transcultural Perspectives
65
84
D. Chiaro
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/98866
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