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ERIC Number: EJ889595
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0092-055X
"Laughing Matters": The Comedian as Social Observer, Teacher, and Conduit of the Sociological Perspective
Bingham, Shawn Chandler; Hernandez, Alexander A.
Teaching Sociology, v37 n4 p335-352 Oct 2009
Much of the sociological curriculum often represents society as tragedy. This article explores the incorporation of a society as comedy component in introductory courses at two institutions using the sociological insight and social critique of comedians. A general discussion of parallels between the comedic eye and the sociological imagination is followed by specific steps for locating, selecting and incorporating comedic clips into various courses. Through comparisons between experimental and control groups, as well as student questionnaires, we found that the use of comedians to model sociological perspectives increased student ability to apply course concepts, decreased student anxiety when tackling new concepts, and engaged a broader number of students during class discussion. We conclude with discussion of challenges specific to these methods--language use and controversial comedians--as well as the broader need to learn from figures who have been historically successful at engaging the public on issues of social importance. (Contains 2 tables and 1 footnote.)
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A