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Narratives and Emotions: Revealing and Concealing Laughter

Author(s): Lena Marander-Eklund

Journal: Folklore : Electronic Journal of Folklore
ISSN 1406-0957

Volume: 39;
Start page: 96;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: emotions | experience | humour | interviews | laughter | meaning-making | oral narratives

My paper deals with laughter as an expression of emotions in stories.I study laughter both as a communicative factor in fieldwork and as a stylistic device in narratives. When is laughter used as an effect in storytelling and what does this laughter mean? Is laughter always an expression of humour and comics? What else can it be an expression of? The stories that I use for analysing laughter are personal experience stories of giving birth. In these stories women use laughter in many ways, both in contact with me as an interviewer, together with me, and as a way of marking the meaning of the story. The women often laugh when they talk about corporeality, pain and difficulties during labour, but also when they perform a self-presentation with elements that “almost” happened during birth. What do they reveal or conceal with laughter in narratives and what can the laughter reveal about the point of their narration?
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