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Do the kinds of political joke that get circulated in a polity depend on the structure - page 5 / 46

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Douglas Ayling

regimes types are likely to make their effects felt at the grassroots level and that one way

this will happen is by rendering lived experience qualitatively different under each regime.

Furthermore, it assumes that the range of jokes in circulation is somehow responsive to and

reflective of this texture of the national life within a given polity. We will return to the

kinds of theoretical framework it may be possible to argue for in the section on theoretical

assumptions.

The hypothesis being advanced is that the proportion of jokes told which relate

to the political ideology of the regime will vary according to regime type in descending

order as follows: post-totalitarian, totalitarian, authoritarian.

In practice, one cannot control for all of the other independent variables – such as

severity and accuracy of regime-repression, availability of sites for performing joking

behaviours, etc. – all other things are not equal. Furthermore ideal types of regime are

precisely that and are not conveniently instantiated in empirical cases of typological purity.

This is not to mention the problem of data collection. The methodology generates what is

necessarily an approximate and quite subjective representation of the proportions of

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