Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 6
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Pérez, Raúl and Greene, Viveca S. 2016. Debating rape jokes vs. rape culture: framing and counter-framing misogynistic comedy. Social Semiotics, Vol. 26, Issue. 3, p. 265.

    Tian, Xiaoli and Menchik, Daniel A. 2016. Communication and Information Technologies Annual.

    Henry, Eric S. 2015. Unequal Englishes.

    Tsakona, Villy 2015. “The doctor said I suffer from Vitamin € deficiency”: Investigating the multiple social functions of Greek Crisis jokes. Pragmatics, Vol. 25, Issue. 2, p. 287.

    Bell, Nancy D. 2013. Responses to incomprehensible humor. Journal of Pragmatics, Vol. 57, p. 176.

    Ball, Christopher 2012. Boasian Legacies in Linguistic Anthropology: A Centenary Review of 2011. American Anthropologist, Vol. 114, Issue. 2, p. 203.


The playful is political: The metapragmatics of internet rape-joke arguments

  • Elise Kramer (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 16 March 2011

Rape jokes are a contentious topic on the internet; arguments over whether “rape is funny” unfold in a diverse range of forums, but they generally take the same predictable form. In this article, I analyze the text of a variety of disputes on American websites over the funniness of rape jokes. I show not only that both sides of these arguments are premised on the same underlying assumptions about the ways that humor and language function, but more importantly that these shared assumptions make it possible for rape humor (and humor more generally) to carry social and political valence—and that in order to understand the significance of the debate over rape jokes, we need to understand the identity work that people are doing when they tell rape jokes, laugh at them, or frown and shake their heads. (Humor, language ideologies, rape, joking)*

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Arnie Cann , & Lawrence G Calhoun . (2001). Perceived personality associations with differences in sense of humor: Stereotypes of hypothetical others with high or low senses of humor. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 14(2):117–30.

Marjorie Harness Goodwin (1982). ‘Instigating’: Storytelling as social process. American Ethnologist 9(4):799819.

Jennifer Hay (2001). The pragmatics of humor support. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 14(1):5582.

Janet Holmes (2000). Politeness, power and provocation: How humor functions in the workplace. Discourse Studies 2(2):117.

Janet Holmes , & Meredith Marra (2002). Over the edge? Subversive humor between colleagues and friends. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 15(1):6587.

Michael Silverstein (1985). Language and the culture of gender: At the intersection of structure, usage, and ideology. In Elizabeth Mertz & Richard J. Parmentier (eds.), Semiotic mediation: Sociocultural and psychological perspectives, 219–59. New York: Academic Press.

Michael Silverstein (2003). Indexical order and the dialectics of sociolinguistic life. Language & Communication 23(3–4):193229.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Language in Society
  • ISSN: 0047-4045
  • EISSN: 1469-8013
  • URL: /core/journals/language-in-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *