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Douglas Ayling

ideology-related humour, the proportion of jokes that were ideology-related in totalitarian

type regimes was 15% and for the authoritarian type the proportion was at 14%.

Despite reservations regarding the authoritarian sample as well as inherent

methodological difficulties, it should suffice to say tentatively that these results would seem

to confirm the following theoretical assumption. In what we regard, based on four

dimensions of differentiation, as post-totalitarian regimes, there is a greater propensity for

jokes to be circulated which relate to the ideology of the regime. If circulating political

jokes which speak to the ideology of a regime is said to correlate inversely to levels of

private commitment to the regime’s official ideology – and many of the theoretical

understandings of political humour discussed will admit of this – then the results found are

consistent with what Linz and Stephan claim to be a defining difference in the relationship

to ideology between totalitarian and post-totalitarian regime types. The disparity in

proportions of ideology-related humour additionally holds for each of the cases of

totalitarian versus non-totalitarian type regimes compared separately – regardless of the

inclusion or exclusion of the 1978 Soviet source. Furthermore, consistent with the claim

made by Linz that authoritarian regime types are structurally inclined to manifest less

coherent or explicitly articulated ideology and are instead characterised by distinctive

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