Marrs Computational Theory


MARTINEAU'S SOCIAL-COMMUNICATION MODEL OF HUMOR. The American sociologist W. H. Martineau (1967, 1972) provides a review of the literature on the sociology of humor and presents a social-communication model of humor that involves the social functions of humor both in in-tragroup and intergroup situations. Marti-neau's model contains a number of theorems that are relevant to the sociological literature, and its basic premise is that humor is a social mechanism with definite social functions. The model considers humor as a distinctive type of persuasive social process and medium of communication by which acting units in the social system convey information during the ongoing process of interaction. Martineau's model attempts to combine some of the salient variables involved in the social-communication process (e.g., the actor, the audience/recipient, the butt of the humor, the judgment of the humor, the cultural context, and the social position of the involved individuals). Rather than emphasizing the functions of humor directly, Martineau's approach reverses the procedure: the model identifies some conditions under which the functions of humor may be specified further (e.g., humor may be analyzed in an intergroup situation with a focus on the internal structure of one group). Essentially, Martineau's model of humor derives from several structural situations, each of which is described in terms of other identified variables which, when combined in sets, are used to delineate theorems representing the social functions. Thus, according to this approach, humor as a basic condition of communication assumes many forms and its social functions achieve complexity under the influence of other social processes and existing social structures. Mar-tineau's model systematically deals with several social processes in an effort to generate researchable hypotheses as well as to develop an overall framework for additional theoreti cal formulations of humor function. See also DUPREEL'S SOCIOLOGICAL HUMOR/LAUGHTER THEORY; HUMOR, THEORIES OF; SOCIAL/COMMUNICATION THEORY OF LAUGHTER. REFERENCES

Martineau, W. H. (1967). A model for a theory of the function of humor. Research Reports in the Social Sciences, 1, 51-64. Martineau, W. H. (1972). A model of the social functions of humor. In J. H. Goldstein & P. E. McGhee (Eds.), The psychology of humor: Theoretical perspectives and empirical issues. New York: Academic Press.

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