Towards a Methodology of Humour

Towards a Methodology of Humour

In a recently published paper in Sociology, Cate Watson (University of Stirling, UK) discusses the role of humour, wit, and satire within contemporary social sciences. She argue that the use of humour, used as methodological principles, is neglected. Her purpose is to make a  case for the place of humour as a methodology for the social sciences.

The paper is titled, “A Sociologist Walks into a Bar (and Other Academic Challenges): Towards a Methodology of Humour” and can be  downloaded here.

I should maybe officially declare that no connection should be made between the picture, and the sociologist who walked into the bar (or any sociologist for that matter).


Humour and laughter have been regarded as suitable topics for research in the social sciences, but as methodological principles to be adopted in carrying out and representing the findings of research they have been neglected. Indeed, those scholars who have made use of humour – wit, satire, jokes etc. – risk being regarded as trivial and marginalised from the mainstream. Yet, in literature the idea that comedy can tell us something important about the human condition is widely recognised. This neglect of the potential of humour and laughter represents a serious omission. The purpose of this article is to make a sensible case for the place of humour as a methodology for the social sciences.