Gender Identity Expression in Situational Humor: Individuality within Commonality
Smith, Hayley M.
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Research on gender identity expression in communication was reviewed, beginning with "difference" and "dominance" approaches and moving toward increasing theoretical complexity. The role of situational humor in shaping interaction was analyzed with a focus on power-establishing and identity-expressing functions. Studies on differences in the way men and women use humor in conversation were reviewed to show how the function of humor as a mode of identity expression is influenced by the regulative and constitutive roles of gender in identity expression. Bakhtin's notion of speech genres was discussed to highlight the context-dependency of situational humor. Mono logical and dialogical senses of truth were outlined as the basis of moral critique, and a movement away from a mono logical model of mixed-sex discourse was proposed as a way for humor in mixed-sex discourse to allow more individuality in identity expression, unrestricted by norms of gender-appropriate behavior.