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"Don't fight the blue elephant": Humorous Signs as Protests and Conductors of Negotiations in Swedish Peace Support Operations
Swedish National Defence College, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Political Science Section. Karlstad universitet.
Karlstads universitet.
2013 (English)In: Res Militaris, E-ISSN 2265-6294, Vol. 3, no 3, 1-19 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article focuses upon the role of humour among Swedish soldiers deployed on peace supportoperations, and more specifically on ‘applied' workplace humour (Mulkay, 1988). Applied humour makes certain points about situations, social groups or phenomena beyond pure entertainment. Data refers first and foremost to workplace signs encountered at military compounds in Liberia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and interviews with 26 Swedish soldiers before, during and after their deployments. The findings suggest that humorous exchanges in missions abroad are omnipresent and serve many purposes: humour is a space for release from various stresses involved in a strictly hierarchical organization as well as in subordination to rules, policies and designed roles - but also where barbed ideas inappropriate for serious communication are vented (Fine, 1988). It is further argued that differences in the nature of operations (i.e. threat level and work tasks) is reflected in the messages' content. Even if the overall purpose of the humorous discourse seems to be more of a safety valve and ‘cathartic-ritual' than making a claim for change, this might in turn depend on the conviction that there is no alternative. Overall, the paper adds to the literature a description of humorous exchanges in a highly structured organizational setting where the need for sense-making is ever present. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 3, no 3, 1-19 p.
Keyword [en]
Applied humour, deployment stress, peace support operations, Swedish armed forces
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Ledarskap under påfrestande förhållanden
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-4456OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-4456DiVA: diva2:689765
Available from: 2014-01-21 Created: 2014-01-21 Last updated: 2016-05-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Emotion matters: Emotion management in Swedish Peace Support Operations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Emotion matters: Emotion management in Swedish Peace Support Operations
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstad universitet, 2012. 74 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 47
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Statsvetenskap med inriktning mot strategi och säkerhetspolitik
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-3787 (URN)978-91-7063-454-3 (ISBN)
Note

2a upplagan med ändringar

Available from: 2013-05-02 Created: 2013-05-02 Last updated: 2014-04-07Bibliographically approved

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