Degree Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

1996

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

English

First Advisor

Michael Mendelson

Abstract

This study argues that, for both practical and theoretical reasons, scholarly inquiry is needed in the area of humor and professional communication: specifically, the humor that technical writers are incorporating into technical texts. To address this need, the study approaches humor from a social perspective which assumes that discourse is understood within the contextualized activity within which it occurs;Interdisciplinary humor research is explored, and from these studies specific contextual elements which impact discourse are identified: humor stimuli, expectations, values, participant relationships, and group relationships. However, existing research concentrates on the identification of these elements from a serious perspective, and this present study further argues that humor needs to be understood from within the humor context within which humor operates most freely;Drawing upon the writings of Michael Mulkay and, to a greater extent, Mikhail Bakhtin's Rabelais and His World, this study develops a social theory of humor which explains humor from within such a humor context, specifically the office humor culture which is part of the workplace of professional communicators;Finally, this study applies the theory that is developed in four ways: it presents a sampling of office-humor texts, a synthesis of the subject matter in those texts, comparisons of office humor and humor in technical documents, and a single example which produced differing interpretations.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31274/rtd-180813-10253

Publisher

Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/

Copyright Owner

Kathleen Ann Hurley

Language

en

Proquest ID

AAI9626043

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

162 pages

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