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Making Fun out of Difference: Ethnicity–Race and Humour in a London School

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sarah Winkler-Reid


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This article highlights the importance of humour and laughter in analyses of ethnicity and race in everyday life, and contributes to the growing anthropological engagement with the role of the ludic in social life. Focusing on pupil interaction in an ethnically and racially diverse London school, it argues that while peer classification practices can lead to reification of ethnic and racial differences, ludic interactions have cross-cutting, counter-balancing or liquefying effects. In interactions of humour, ethnic and racial differences can become the very material from which banter and laughter are created, constituting a convivial sociality that manifests closeness at the same time as difference. Such interactions enable peers to address their racial and ethnic differences, and a wider context of prejudice and racism, lightly, ‘making fun out of’ what could potentially divide and distance them.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Winkler-Reid S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology

Year: 2015

Volume: 80

Issue: 1

Pages: 23-44

Online publication date: 05/08/2013

ISSN (print): 0014-1844

ISSN (electronic): 1469-588X

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/00141844.2013.801504


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