Laughing Matters: Micro-Resistance to Gendered Rationality

  • Author / Creator
    Douglas, Emily R.
  • Since the 1980s, many feminist philosophers have pointed out the association of masculinity and maleness with reason and rationality, and femininity and femaleness with unreason and irrationality. Struck by how these associations influence even ordinary activities and discourse, I sought a more nuanced approach. Examining the dichotomous responses to gendered reason, I argue that resistance to gendered norms of rationality cannot be accomplished through practical reason alone. Allowing unconventional forms of resistance to “count” as political, by reconceptualising resistance on a Foucauldian framework, provides theorists with many new resources. The laughter norms which we are disciplined to follow constitute a subject’s gender and her rationality. We can disrupt these norms in at least three ways: by laughing when it is unexpected, by changing our comportment during laughter, and by refusing to laugh when it is expected. Ultimately, I propose that feminist subjects can politically transform our selves, and others, through micro-practices of laughing differently.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2014
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Burch, Robert (Philosophy)
    • Taylor, Chloe (Women's and Gender Studies, Philosophy)
    • Laforest, Daniel (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)