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Humor as resistance in migrant (im)mobilities [Anthropology and Mobility Network (Anthromob)] 
Erkan Tümkaya (Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institut (Freiburg))
Ignacio Fradejas-García (University of Oviedo)
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Leela Riesz (University of Michigan)
Tuesday 23 July, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

This panel aims to shift the lens away from the tropes of suffering and victimhood in migration (im)mobilities research to focus instead on how migrants exert agency and resistance through the use of different modes of humor.

Long Abstract:

Humor represents a distinctive form of communication that can shape our relationships with others in various ways (Kuipers 2015). Modes of humor vary across time and space but the need to laugh is ubiquitous. Humor does not only serve for entertainment, it is embedded in various forms of communication, social relations, and cultural practices. Especially, it may serve as an instrument for agency in the face of hardships, showing that humor may help build resistance “turning oppression upside down” (Jul Sørensen 2016; 2008, 180). It may be used to mock the authority or to downplay the seriousness of a situation (Billig 2005), empowering those marginalized (Hammett et al. 2023) and used as a refusal of dominance or submission to power (Bhungalia 2020).

However, except for some studies (Franck 2022; Lindsay 2022; Van Ramshorst 2019) migration research, which centers its primary focus on migrant suffering, has failed to recognize the value of humor in migrants’ experiences. Without denying migrant suffering, this panel discusses what humor means for migrants in the face of hardships. What types of humor are used by migrants? How does humor serve, in the context of migrant (im)mobilities, as a means of resistance, agency, empowerment, refusal, political acts, and/or as a way of engaging with temporality, negotiating vulnerability, and counteracting absurdity? We are seeking to bring together researchers and ethnographies that explore different modes, formats, and performances of humor including specific work on migrant mockery, joking, and laughter, but also on serendipity findings on migrant humor.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Tuesday 23 July, 2024, -
Session 2 Tuesday 23 July, 2024, -