chapter  21
Conversation Analysis of Humor
ByPhillip Glenn, Elizabeth Holt
Pages 14

In the conversation analytic (CA) research tradition reviewed here, humor is not used, or indeed a particularly useful, analytic category. Obviously "humor" is folk category, and participants may occasionally use it to gloss an interactional event. CA studies provide detailed analysis of actions and sequences in which humor occurs and how, within these, social actors use it to do whatever they may be doing. CA was deeply influenced by foundational work of sociologist Harold Garfinkel, who took interest in understanding social order as it arises in and from ways participants organize and account for their actions. He coined the term ethnomethodology to name the study of people's methods for accomplishing the structure and order of everyday life. Given perceived close relationship between laughter and humor, research on laughter is likely to be highly relevant, and there is large body of CA research on laughter. Humor scholars have sometimes used presence of laughter as basis for collecting instances of humorous talk.