Are Jordanians (still) 'humourless'?


political opening
Arab Spring
social media

How to Cite

Barahmeh, Y. (2023). Are Jordanians (still) ’humourless’?. The European Journal of Humour Research, 11(1), 201–211.


This article discusses the stereotypical misrepresentations held about Jordanians being ‘humourless,’ and how had the 1989 political opening affected the production and reception of humour in the country. I argue that the difficult economic conditions and increasing pressures after the 1989 political opening have produced more humour and carnivalesque resistance against power and the government in Jordan. Indeed, this political event along with other increasing economic problems and hardships from the 1990s have challenged the stereotypical notions about Jordanians being humourless and po-faced. However, it was not until 2011 that a large number of ordinary people and humourists began more fully engage with carnivalesque and subversive humour that resist power and demand change. Thanks in large part to the revolutionary moment of the Arab Spring and the development of social media technology, which has offered an alternative and independent platform for people to make fun of themselves and of the people in power.


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