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The Role of Humour in the Creation of Symbolic Boundaries Between Members of Different University of the Philippines Baguio Student Organizations (Thesis Proposal Sample)


This is my undergraduate thesis proposal about the function of humor in the creation of symbolic boundaries among university of the philippines baguio students

The role of humour in the creation of symbolic boundaries between members of different University of the Philippines Baguio student organizations
Many researches have proven that humour, as a social phenomenon, functions well as a ‘social lubricant’ during social interactions. It shapes the trajectory of the ongoing interpersonal interaction between individuals and has a great influence in shaping people’s bonds by laying the foundations for trust and deeper understanding. This is what we call ‘breaking the ice’ during initial social contact and this provides a momentum for further interactions. In this type of interaction where the humour is used consists of two parties: The ‘joke-teller’ and the ‘listener’. In this research we could classify the individuals in this manner: the first one, being the one to deliver the joke, and the latter one as the consumer, regardless if he would reciprocate the act by laughing or not. Humour, in terms of delivery, can also be distinguished between ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’. ‘Direct’ refers to the communication of the joke in a "face-to-face" manner, whereas the other one refers to those which are done through other means such text messages, Facebook chats, etc. In this research, much focus would be given on the first one. In terms of types, humour can also be classified as slapstick, mockery, irony, etc., this, will be further discussed in the succeeding chapters.
Most of the times, humour is delivered unconsciously by the individuals but its ultimate goal is to elicit laughter from the listener. Laughter, in the part of the joke-teller, provides an immediate satisfaction for him since it "conveys appreciation and gratitude – an intention to reciprocate for having received a stimulating idea" (Weisfield, 1993; p. 141, as cited by Treger, Sprecher, & Erber, 2013). And as researches have proven, there is a positive relationship between being able to being able to make the listener laugh, and establishing a deeper connection and understanding with him. From this, the researcher believe that knowing how to create this type of understanding between individuals – through humour – is beneficial in knowing how individuals create symbolic boundaries between themselves, thus, differentiating the ‘us’ from ‘them’. The researcher also believe that this knowledge is not only beneficial in managing student organizations, per se, but also for a larger work place.
In order to know how individuals create "in-groups”, the researcher would like to focus on the three (3) independent variables: (1) the types of humour used, (2) the object of humour, and (3) how a particular type humour is created and maintained – the social context. The researcher’s starting assumption, before anything (the main hypothesis would be provided in the succeeding chapter), is that individuals in a particular organization uses more denigrating humour (type) towards ‘others’ (object). This, however, is just an initial assumption and the researcher believe that it’s a good thing to identify his personal assumptions in order to rule out any prejudice that exist.
The main objective of this research is to find out the role of humour, in building trust and creating symbolic boundaries between the members of student organizations in the UPB campus. To determine what kinds of jokes they use? Who the subject of these jokes are? And how does this create symbolic boundaries that distinguishes them as a part of the group from the others? How are inside jokes created and maintained as functional? As was said earlier, jokes – more particularly inside jokes – would create the feeling of trust and belongingness between the members. It might also be the case that these inside jokes are mostly oriented towards denigration of ‘out-siders’ in order to promote further promote the idea of belongingness.
In terms of the methodology, the study would only employ qualitative but thorough data-gathering methods. In-depth interviews and FGDs would be the main methodologies to be used here. The in-depth interviews would employ the use of random sampling with students from different organizations, oriented towards understanding the three (3) independent variables indicated above. This would be done in a strictly anonymous and confidential manner, since it is very probable that misunderstanding would arise if the jokes are very offensive for the individuals/group which are used as objects of the "joke”. FGDs would be done with members of the same organization as to maintain confidentiality and anonymity of the information.
In analyzing the data that would be collected would be subjected to three different sociological theories, namely; Herbert Mead’s Symbolic interactionism, Homan’s Exchange theory and Functionalism by Malinowski (psychological) and Radcliffe-Brown (structural). Symbolic interactionism, says that individuals create meanings through their everyday interaction with one another, and in turn, they use these meanings in dealing with their everyday life. From this perspective, humour can be seen as a social phenomenon created in a particular social context, which is then understood (because of the similarity of...
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