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Racism in comedy reappraised: back to little England?

Peters, L and Becker, S 2010, 'Racism in comedy reappraised: back to little England?' , Comedy Studies, 1 (2) , pp. 191-200.

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Abstract

The article was originally researched and presented to consider issues of taste in this ‘New British Comedy’ era exemplified by television, film, and stage shows of the previous decade, such as ‘Little Britain’, Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Borat…’ and ‘Mock the Week’. Considering the contemporary and continuing debate concerning the divide between satire and inappropriate racist offence, the article now revisits the ways in which comedy reflects broader British attitudes towards race and racial stereotypes. A number of traditional social psychological theories are used to explain why racist humour is still prevalent in Britain’s multi-cultural society. In particular the article seeks to illustrate the ways in which developments in contemporary comedy reflect the move from what is termed ‘old fashioned racism’ to what Gaertner & Dovidio (1986 ) term ‘aversive racism’. The article then develops the argument to illustrate the ways in which the interactional qualities which exemplify ‘aversive racism’ are manifested in the broader socio-political context as ‘principled racism’ which warrants racist humour through the rhetoric of ‘race-blind’ liberal principles (Sniderman, Brody & Tetlock, 1991.)

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Early drafts of a paper on which this article was based were presented at: Leicester De Montfort University Symposium (2008), The International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) Conference Political Performance Working Group in Stellenbosch, South Africa, (2007) and The Salford International Comedy Conference (2007). Lloyd Peters has now been invited onto the Editorial Board of Comedy Studies.
Uncontrolled Keywords: David Walliams, Matt Lucas, Little Britain, stigma, principled racism, aversive racism, racism, television comedy
Themes: Media, Digital Technology and the Creative Economy
Schools: Strategic Leadership Team
Journal or Publication Title: Comedy Studies
Publisher: Intellect Journals
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 2040-610X
Depositing User: Dr Lloyd Peters
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2011 12:12
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2014 09:20
URI: http://usir.eprints.org/id/eprint/18475

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