commitment than the struggling faith and disaffection of post-totalitarian regimes; and
contrasts with the loosely articulated “mentalities”7 of authoritarian regimes.
The following theory articulated by Henry Jenkins represents one of a number of
explanations for how and where jokes occur – in this case, with relation to ideology:
Jokes, tend to cluster around points of friction or rupture within the social structure, around places where a dominant social discourse is already starting to give way to an emergent counter-discourse; jokes allow the comic expression of ideas that in other contexts might be regarded as threatening.8
If the Jenkins assessment holds true then one would expect most ideology-based joking
within the post-totalitarian regimes since it is within post-totalitarian regimes that there is a
“growing empirical disjunction between official ideological claims and reality”9.
Conversely, if the ideal type of the authoritarian regime truly embodies a weaker
relationship to ideology within the regime compared with both totalitarianism and
post-totalitarianism, then ceteris paribus this should be reflected in a comparatively
diminished incidence of ideology-related political jokes within authoritarian regimes as
against totalitarian and post-totalitarian regimes. This latter hypothesis depends on an
assertion. It posits that different degrees of regime-ideological engagement across different
7 8 ibidem Henry Jenkins, What made Pistachio Nuts? (Columbia: New York, 1992), p.251; cited by Maggie Andrews, ‘Butterflies and Caustic Asides: Housewives, comedy and the feminist movement’, Because I Tell a Joke or Two: Comedy, Politics and Social Difference, ed. Stephen Wagg (London: Routledge, 1998), p.51 Linz and Stepan (1996), p.48 9