Making the threatening other laughable: Ambiguous performances of urban vernaculars in Swedish media

Rickard Jonsson, Anna Gradin Franzén, Tommaso M. Milani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

The threatening young man who speaks Rinkeby Swedish has become a culturally recognizable ‘figure of personhood’ (Agha, 2007) of linguistic and ethnic otherness in Sweden. Drawing upon Billig's theory of humour, we illustrate how this characterological persona is not monolithic; nor does it remain uncontested but is constantly being (re)negotiated in the media. By drawing attention to those humorous performances that rhetorically make fun of entrenched stereotypes, the article explores the subversive, as well as disciplinary, potentials of this kind of humour. Read together, the examples in this article indicate that the ‘exemplary speaker’ (Androutsopoulos, 2016) of Swedish contemporary urban vernaculars can be laughed at and with but cannot easily be fixed into a unified homogenous figure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalLanguage and Communication
Volume71
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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