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Title: Nurturing Affiliation: The Interpersonal, Multimodal Work of Stand-up Comedians
Contributor(s): Williams, Lindsay (author); Chan, Eveline  (supervisor)orcid ; Devrim, Devo  (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2019-07-08
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Related Research Outputs: 10.25952/5ee85589c1da5
Abstract: The process of nurturing affiliation (put simply, community building) is a significant function of language that is crucial for success in a range of occupations, including teaching, professional development presenting and stand-up comedy. Indeed, comedians themselves in interviews and podcast conversations often reference this function of their job. Despite the ubiquity of comedians in the Western media as presenters, panellists and entertainers with the potential to influence popular culture in Australia, their work is largely unexamined from the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). This study, then, asks: How do successful stand-up comedians work to nurture a sense of community with their audiences? In answering this question (and related sub-questions), the study analyses how aspects of both language and paralanguage are used across three one-hour plus videos of live performances by Australian comedians Dave Hughes, Kitty Flanagan and Adam Hills, with a focus on identifying intermodal patternings. The methodology was multimodal discourse analysis, a form of analysis that explores the way language and other semiotic systems are used to make meaning within social contexts. Using a research process derived from this approach, a macro-analysis to gain insight to the logogenesis of the performances was undertaken, followed by a micro analysis of 22 critical incidents across the performances focussed on the role of APPRAISAL and BONDING resources in enacting tenor relationships implicated in the nurturing of affiliation. Based on this analysis, it is proposed that a sense of closeness and alignment of values (keys to affiliation) between the audience and comedian is achieved (in part) by the strategically unfolding use of semiotic ensembles that allow the comedians to distance themselves in various ways from the expression of socially risky values.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 130204 English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL)
200401 Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics
200405 Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics)
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 470411 Sociolinguistics
470401 Applied linguistics and educational linguistics
390104 English and literacy curriculum and pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL)
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 950105 The Performing Arts (incl. Theatre and Dance)
950202 Languages and Literacy
950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 130104 The performing arts
130202 Languages and linguistics
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
Description: The dataset associated with this thesis can be found here:
Appears in Collections:School of Education
Thesis Doctoral

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