Accepted Paper:

Speaking seriously by laughing: anecdotes as a mean of "resistance" in the Greek community of Czechoslovakia  

Author:

Georgia Sarikoudi (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

Paper short abstract:

Humor has been a case of study since the antiquity and that is because it helps us to realize what interests society and to understand better culturally formed ways of thinking. Humor however is also regarded as a powerful political “gun” where it can jeopardize someone’s authority.

Paper long abstract:

Humor plays a basic role in our social life and in the development of our personality. It is connected with creativity and imagination and by producing laugh it can contribute, to emotional discharge, relaxe defenses and makes us more extroverted and receptive. Humor however is not connected only with happy events and contexts; is also regarded as a powerful political "tool" that can reveal where tensions in a society lie.

The Greek community that was organized in Czechoslovakia after the end of the Greek civil was in the end of 40's was under the guidance of the Greek Communist Party in cooperation with the Czechoslovakian Communist Party. Any open disobedience in the orders of both Parties had severe consequences. For this reason Greeks that were against the communist rules had invented anecdotes and jokes that were circulating among close friends in order to provoke the political leaders and their actions. Of course, no one can argue that jokes and anecdotes are able to dethrone a leader or to bring down a regime; they are not so powerful forces. Jokes may not be small revolutions, but they are small realms of freedom in a totalitarian regime.

Panel P037
The provocateur?