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ERIC Number: EJ928452
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0013-2004
The Educational Meaning of Communal Laughter: On the Experience of Corporeal Democracy
Vlieghe, Joris; Simons, Maarten; Masschelein, Jan
Educational Theory, v60 n6 p719-734 Dec 2010
In this article Joris Vlieghe, Maarten Simons, and Jan Masschelein attempt to articulate a new way of dealing with the public character of education. Instead of discussing laughter as an instrument that one could use to facilitate established educational goals, the authors provide an extensive analysis of the phenomenon of laughter as a specific form of corporeal behavior. Their analysis demonstrates that when we laugh, we give an answer to a disorienting situation, but this answer is not the product of intentional agency. Instead, it consists in the uncontrollable spasmodic contraction of our diaphragm and other impersonal and automatic corporeal reactions. We are thus exposed to an ultimate loss of self-control. The authors argue further that communal laughter--that is, when the lack of mastery over our own lives becomes a shared experience--results in what they call a "democracy of the flesh." In this state, it is no longer possible to stick to well-defined positions, nor is it tenable to defend any hierarchical ordering, including the strict hierarchy we typically find in the context of schooling and education. Common laughter makes equals out of us and grants the possibility of an unforeseen and unimaginable future. For precisely this reason, the authors conclude, communal laughter might be considered as an educational event itself.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A