Laughter as immanent life-affirmation. Reconsidering the educational value of laughter through a Bakthinian lense.

Vlieghe, Joris (2012) Laughter as immanent life-affirmation. Reconsidering the educational value of laughter through a Bakthinian lense. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 46 (2). pp. 148-161. ISSN 0013-1857

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Abstract

In this article I try to conceive a new approach towards laughter in the context of formal schooling. I focus on laughter in so far as it is a bodily response during which we are entirely delivered to uncontrollable, spasmodic reactions. To see the educational relevance of this particular kind of laughter, as well as to understand why laughter is often dealt with in a very negative way in pedagogical contexts, this phenomenon should be carefully distinguished from humor or amusement. I build my argument for a smaller part on the basis of conceptual analysis, and to a greater extent on Bakhtin’s work on the transition from Medieval folk culture to Modern civilized culture, in which he claims that a reduction from laughing as a strongly physical experience to mere forms of amusement or humor actually implies that laughter no longer possesses its inherent equalizing and communizing potential. In a sense, laughter forms a threat to any organization of social existence according to similarities and differences in identity and position, and this explains why we usually try to suppress it, or why we try to render it functional in view of the continuation of a societal regime or pedagogical order. More positively formulated, laughter may be said to have an intrinsic educational meaning, because it allows a significant transformation of individual and collective existence

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Educational Philosophy and Theory on 9th October 2012, available http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00131857.2012.721733
Keywords: communal laughter, carnivalesque laughter, Bakhtin, Plessner, corporeal experience, equality
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Education > Education Studies
Depositing User: Susan Blagbrough
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2016 11:59
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2016 10:49
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/796

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