Ethnic humour and ethnic collaboration: two different regions, two different approaches
Anastasiya Zhvaleuskaya (Belarusian State University)
Paper short abstract:
While in some multicultural regions ethnic humour is regarded as a playful and inoffensive way of communication, this may not be true in other multicultural regions. This paper examines the role of ethnic humour in ethnic collaboration in two regions of Belarus.
Paper long abstract:
While in some multicultural regions ethnic humour is regarded as a playful and inoffensive way of communication, this may not be true in other multicultural regions. The case study of the Belarus-Lithuania border region reveals that for both Belarusians and Lithuanians ethnic humour is a part of their everyday communication. However, ethnic humour does not prevent the two nations from fruitful collaboration and friendly relations. In some cases the humour even strengthens the collaboration between Lithuanians and Belarusians as they can compensate for one another in certain areas of skill. The case of Semezhevo, a village in central Belarus, is quite different. The majority of its population are Belarusians, but in the 1980s there was a considerable migration from Kazakhstan. The migrants were not welcome among the local population. Nevertheless, the locals claim they did not and do not make fun of the newcomers. An interview with the members of the Kazakh community showed that they view the situation differently, believing they are often subjected to ethnic jokes, many of which they find offensive. But the Belarusians and the Kazakhs were unanimous that ethnic collaboration in the village is nearly non-existent. The communities tend to avoid one another, and do not help the members of the other community the same way as they help each other. This comparison shows that ethnic humour itself does not indicate the presence or absence of ethnic collaboration. But the attitudes towards it may vary considerably depending on the situation in a particular region.
Young scholars forum