This book engages anthropologically with humor as political expression. It reveals how humor is in many instances central to human efforts to cope with political struggle and significant to understanding power dynamics in socio-political life. The chapters examine humor and joking activities across a diverse range of geographic areas and cultural contexts. The contributors consider humor as it is constituted in political anxiety, aggression and power, and when it becomes a tool to resist, repair, reconcile or make a moral claim. Collectively they demonstrate that humor can provide a powerful critique, a non-violent form of political protest and the space for restoration of human dignity.


chapter |11 pages


chapter 1|9 pages

You’ve got to be joking

Asserting the analytical value of humour and laughter in contemporary anthropology

chapter 3|15 pages

“Joke” elections

Satirical activism and political opposition in Lithuania’s electoral politics 1

chapter 4|18 pages

When the fearful becomes funny

Joke-work in the midst of violence 1

chapter 5|15 pages

Humor against forgetting

Joking in the space of death

chapter 6|11 pages

Chisasibi Cree hunters and missionaries

Humor as evidence of tension 1

chapter 7|13 pages

Mexican speech play

History and the psychological discourses of power

chapter 8|23 pages

The flesh of joking relationships

A study of Quechua sexual farce

chapter 10|16 pages

Trump’s two bodies

The trickster-wrestler as a political type

chapter 11|11 pages

“An army of comedy”

Political jokes and tropic ambiguity in the Trump era

chapter |8 pages


Not all fun and games: The force of humor in political life