chapter  2
An Overview of Humor Theory
ByCristina Larkin-Galiñanes
Pages 13

The connection was established between humour and health by the classical writers. Much has been written on the subject of humour over the ages, some of it in the form of lengthy essays, other as passing comments embedded in pieces on other subjects. The social and cultural life of Western Europe in the Middle Ages was dominated by the Church, as was, to some extent, its political life, so what little was written about laughter and humour in this period continued to be influenced by Church authorities, and its tenor was very similar to that already described. Humour researchers, now predominantly psychologists and sociologists rather than philosophers and men of letters as in the past, have accepted the basic premise that humour is a social mechanism with definite social functions such as consensus, conflict, and control, and have converged to study empirically joking, the specific circumstances in which it occurs, and its effects.