chapter  3
Can the subaltern laugh?
A study of humor, power, and resistance
WithMiguel Alberto Novoa Cipriani
Pages 11

This chapter analyzes how humor has historically served the oppressed as resistance to the impositions of hierarchical society. Since the 1980s, scholarship focused on deconstructing language has analyzed the underlying power structures framing and suppressing human affairs. Studies of humor have been especially problematic, not least because the established social orders have suppressed comedy since the seventeenth century, forcing it to become more cryptic and tied to peculiar contexts. Recent film studies explore twentieth-century humor and its connection with the carnivalesque traditions of prior centuries. The chapter concludes with an analysis of dark humor films from the United States and Mexico. This chapter argues that comedy should be deemed a natural expression of the subalterns’ voice.