‘I will make you widows laugh’: a narrative-analytic perspective on conversational joke telling and tellers in a group of older Greek Cypriot women

Charalambidou, Anna ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4579-9859 and Georgakopoulou, Alexandra (2014) ‘I will make you widows laugh’: a narrative-analytic perspective on conversational joke telling and tellers in a group of older Greek Cypriot women. In: Analysing Greek Talk-in-Interaction. Christodoulidou, Maria, ed. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, UK, pp. 130-156. ISBN 9781443861687. [Book Section]

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In previous work, we have argued that a narrative-analytic perspective that looks into the development of a story beyond its opening and closing and that brings in contextual, in particular ethnographic, perspectives can enhance the focus of a CA approach (see Georgakopoulou 2010). In this chapter, we are further advancing this line of inquiry by investigating the narrative-interactional patterns of joke telling in the conversational data of a group of older Greek Cypriot women. This case study looks closely at a sexually-explicit joke narrated in a casual, peer-group conversation. The analytical frameworks employed include conversation analysis and small stories research, as a paradigm for the analysis of stories and identities-in-interaction, which is aimed at uncovering the interconnections amongst three layers of analysis: ways of telling, sites, tellers. The analysis shows that sexually explicit jokes are oriented to as a marked/taboo topic in the specific group and they implicate issues of entitlement and regulation of tellership rights. The tellers navigate entitlement issues -about who has the right to tell what kinds of jokes, to whom and when- through the sequential organisation of the interaction, on the one hand, which includes elaborate as opposed to economic opening and response sequences. On the other, participants negotiate entitlement norms through the ways in which they position themselves vis-à-vis the original tellers of their jokes, the characters in the jokes, their interlocutors and previous and projected re-tellings of the joke. We finally focus on the use of the self- and other- categorisation ‘widow’ as a device for legitimizing telling rights for an ‘indecent’ joke, particularly in the opening of a joke-telling sequence. We show how the specific choices in the ways of telling the joke connect with the sites of the jokes’ taleworld and telling as well as with their tellers in their complex capacities as older widowed women, friends, tellers, and recipients of other jokes.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media > English Language and Literature
Item ID: 14428
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Depositing User: Anna Charalambidou
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2015 12:04
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2021 12:31
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/14428

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