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Do the kinds of political joke that get circulated in a polity depend on the structure - page 10 / 46





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Douglas Ayling

is the anthology by C. Banc and Alan Dundes, You Call This Living?18 which documents

variations according to country for each inclusion. The nature of the source means that the

post-Soviet “Polish” jokes encountered in this study are consistently variants upon jokes

circulating more widely in Eastern European states.

The authoritarian regime according to Linz also has a distinct relationship to

ideology. Authoritarian regimes come to power by co-opting some of the legitimacy of

pre-existing institutions and elite groups19. Their (limited) political pluralism and often

extensive economic and social pluralism is a function of the civil society institutions that

predated them. However these legacies constrain the articulation of a radically totalising


The real question to ask is, What power arrangements seem to prevent ideological articulation is such regimes? In our view the complex coalition of forces, interests, political traditions, and institutions – part of the limited pluralism – requires the rulers to use as symbolic referent the minimum common denominator of the coalition.20

There is therefore a structural impediment to a coherent regime ideology within the

authoritarian regime that becomes manifest in certain absences:

18 C. Banc and Alan Dundes, You Call This Living?: A Collection of East European Political Jokes, (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1990) Linz (2000), p.47 ibidem, p.164 19 20

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