Humour is serious: Minority group members’ use of humour in their encounters with majority group members

Anna Dobai, Nick Hopkins (Lead / Corresponding author)

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper adds to the social psychological literature on how minority group members seek to manage their interactions with majority group members. Specifically it focuses on minority group members’ use of humour in interactions where they anticipate or actually experience prejudice. The data on which our analysis is based originate from interviews conducted with Roma in Hungary (N = 30). Asked about their interactions with majority group members, interviewees reported using humour as a means to i. manage embarrassment; ii., gather information about the other’s inter-group attitudes; and iii., subvert taken-for-granted understandings of social relations. The humour involved was diverse. Sometimes it entailed the telling of (Roma-related) jokes. Sometimes it involved the exaggerated performance of roles and identities that ironized majority-minority social relations. The significance of humour as tool for minority group members to exert some control over their interactions with majority group members is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Early online date1 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2019



  • interaction management strategies
  • minority group humour
  • negotiating prejudice
  • Roma
  • subversive humour

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