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Do the kinds of political joke that get circulated in a polity depend on the structure - page 19 / 46





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Douglas Ayling

promotion and succession were conversely categorised as relating to the regime. Where the

subject matter, tenor or impetus of a joke could reasonably be thought to speak directly to

the core principles or legitimacy of the regime it was classified as relating to ideology.

Where none of these categories were relevant to the humour of the joke, it was placed in the

“other” category of “none of the above”. It was not enough for a joke merely to mention

(for example) a political leader in a contextual capacity for it to be a regime joke. Within

the limitations of the exercise the jokes have been categorised as far as possible with

attention to what they are “about”.

Where two or more categories could be said to be

appropriate, the following hierarchy has been applied (in descending order): ideology,

regime, state. To be explicit, a joke involving a political leader which seemed to speak to

the pith of a regime’s ideological substance was categorised as an ideological joke.

The Jewish Question

The claim can plausibly be made that in the Third Reich and the soviet states, the

experience of Jewish citizens was radically different from that of the non-Jewish citizen.

The question then asked is, “Should Jewish humour under each regime type be assessed

separately from non-Jewish humour?” The anthologies consulted for Nazi Europe and for

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