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Accepted Paper:

Jokes and their relation to crisis  
Iveta Hajdakova (Stripe Partners)

Paper short abstract:

The paper analyzes jokes about work, which were popular in former Czechoslovakia before 1989. It focuses on jokes as expressions of crisis and imagination.

Paper long abstract:

Work is one of the most important virtues in most religious, political, and value systems. According to Weber, development of capitalism in the West was influenced by the Protestant ethics and its idea that wealth as a result of one's work was a sign of God's grace. On the other hand, socialist ideology claimed that work was a part of human nature. The new socialist citizen, a prerequisite of human emancipation, was expected to work for the benefit of the whole society. So how did he or she approach work? "So that others could approach it, too!"

The paper draws upon a micro study of folk jokes that circulated among people during the era of late socialism in former Czechoslovakia. It focuses on jokes that ridiculed work as a virtue and moral value and discuses their subversive aspect. The paper shows that the jokes reflected the crisis of the collapsing political regime rather than people's laziness.

Panel IW005
Imagination, crisis and hope, or, do futures have a future?
  Session 1