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"Gallows Humor"-A Sociological Phenomenon

Antonin J. Obrdlik
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 47, No. 5 (Mar., 1942), pp. 709-716
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2769536
Page Count: 8
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"Gallows Humor"-A Sociological Phenomenon
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Abstract

Humor is both a social product and an agency with social functions. It assumes different forms in various groups and within the same group according to the changes in situations. "Gallows humor" is a type of humor that arises in a type of precarious or dangerous situation. On the basis of experiences in Czechoslovakia following the advent of Hitler it may be stated that gallows humor is an index of strength or morale on the part of oppressed peoples. The positive effect of gallows humor is manifested in the strengthening of morale. Its negative effect is revealed in its influence upon the disintegration of those toward whom it is directed.

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