Even despite this methodological issue and cognisant of the relatively small size of
the 1978 Soviet Russia source, it is nonetheless illuminating to note the similarity between
the distribution of types of joke collected in 1978 in the USSR as compared with the jokes
(non-Jewish) collected from the USSR in 1988, a decade later (figures 4.1 and 5.2). The
proportions are very similar (with ideology and regime seeing only one percent increases),
but the number of jokes relating to the state has doubled in the decade between 1978 and
1988. If such a trend could be found more generally to be corroborated, it could be
interpreted as a reflection of growing impatience with the functioning of the state, the state
getting worse at delivery, or rising expectations.
The system of categorising jokes according to whether they speak primarily to the
state, regime or ideology is a blunt instrument, but has proven to be broadly workable.
Future research could instead categorise political jokes according to which dimension they
properly relate to of Linz and Stepan’s four dimensions of pluralism, ideology, mobilization