Laughter is primarily a social phenomenon and used as a resource for managing social relationships and identities. While it is often unplanned and uncensored, laughter is also strategically produced at particular moments to accomplish particular goals in interaction. In this article, I examine the ways in which laughter – specifically, what I call coping laughter – is utilized to manage the face-threatening relational aspects of disagreements rather than to deal with the actual content of disputes. The four specific functions of coping laughter that I analyze are (1) face-threat mitigation, (2) face-loss concealment, (3) serious-to-nonserious frame switch, and (4) topic transition facilitation. Which of these functions are accomplished varies depending on several contextual factors, including who initiates the laughter, how other participants respond to the laughter, and the overarching context and participant roles at play in the interaction. I discuss each of these influencing factors and the associated interactional functions of coping laughter in relation to the data I analyze. I argue that coping laughter is an efficient and effective strategy for dealing with the interactional trouble caused by a disagreement without dealing with its content.
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2023. Talking about chronic pain: Misalignment in discussions of the body, mind and social aspects in pain clinic consultations. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine 27:3 ► pp. 378 ff.
2017. Humor in Teams: Interpersonal Functions of Humor. In Humor at Work in Teams, Leadership, Negotiations, Learning and Health [SpringerBriefs in Psychology, ], ► pp. 31 ff.
Goel, Pranav, Yoichi Matsuyama, Michael Madaio & Justine Cassell
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2022. Towards a Linguistic Anthropology of Asian Laughters: Correlating two Contexts. Journal on Asian Linguistic Anthropology 4:3 ► pp. 61 ff.
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2021. Disagreement and mitigation in power-asymmetrical venture capital reality TV shows: a comparative case study of Shark Tank in the US and Dragon’s Den in China. Intercultural Pragmatics 18:2 ► pp. 245 ff.
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 1 september 2023. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers.
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