Comedy and Cultural Belonging (V3035)

30 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

Comedy is, above all, a cultural form that invites its audiences to feel that they belong – to a social community, a class, a locality, a nation, a subculture, a gender, a sexual identity, an ethnic group, a community of interest, or a complex intersection of several of these.

This module explores the relationship between comedy and belonging by considering a number of conceptual fields, such as:

  • theories of the comedic
  • questions of identity formation
  • notions of representation and stereotyping
  • structures of power and resistance
  • the sexual politics of jokes
  • concepts of carnival and excess
  • the idea of a 'national sense of humour'
  • the use of comic strategies by 'minority' groups
  • the complexities of camp
  • the role of class in cultural consumption.

The initial focus is on 20th-century British popular comedy. The comic texts and practitioners studied might include Alan Bennett, Mike Leigh, Victoria Wood, the music hall tradition, the Ealing comedies, the Carry On films, Morecambe and Wise, The League of Gentlemen and The Royle Family.


100%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is 300 hours of work. This breaks down into 23 hours of contact time and 277 hours of independent study.

This module is running in the academic year 2018/19. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: