Book review: Sombatpoonsiri, Janjira. 2015. Humour and Nonviolent Struggle in Serbia. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. xvi + 264pp. Hardcover ISBN: 9780815634072.

Costas Canakis


This is the kind of title scholars working on Serbia (and, indeed, ex-Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe, more generally) would be prone to consider a rare treat. However, as I will try to show there is little there that is of interest to anyone engaged in humour research beyond a thorough description of activities that were meant to elicit humorous reactions. Therefore, it may be useful to the ones among us who have often wondered how their work is different from the work of those who plan disruptive actions, such as Otpor members in Serbia in the late 1990s, which is the focus of this book.

Full Text:



Attardo, S. (1994). Linguistic Theories of Humour. New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Attardo, S. (2008). ‘A primer for the linguistics of humour’, in Raskin, V. (ed.), The Primer of Humour Research, Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 101-155.

Athanasiou, A. (2010). ‘Undoing language: Gender dissent and the disquiet of silence’, in Canakis, C., Kantsa, V. and Yannakopoulos, K. (eds.), Language and Sexuality: (Through and) beyond Gender, Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 219-246.

Austin, J. (1962). How to do Things with Words. Edited by. Urmson, J. O and Sbisà, M. 2nd edition, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Bergson, H. (1956 [1899]). ‘Laughter’, in Sypher, W. (ed.), Comedy, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, pp. 59-190.

Bugarski, R. (1997). Jezik od mira do rata. Beograd: XX Vek.

Bjelić, D. I. & Savić, O. (eds). (2002). Balkan as Metaphor: Between Globalisation and Fragmentation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Canakis, C. & Kersten-Pejanić, R. (2016). ‘Spray-canned discourses reimagining gender, sexuality, and citizenship through linguistic landscapes in the Balkans’, in Goll, S., Mlinarić, M. and J. Gold (eds.), Minorities under Attack: Othering and Right-Wing Extremism in Southeast European Societies, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, pp. 129-159.

Grice, H. P. (1975). ‘Logic and conversation’, in Cole, P. & Morgan, J. L. (eds.), Syntax and Semantics. Vol. 3: Speech Acts, New York: Academic Press, pp. 41-58.

Jansen, S. (2001). ‘The streets of Belgrade: Urban space and protest identities in Serbia’. Political Geography 20, pp. 35-55.

Johnson, D. N. (2012). ‘We are waiting for you: The discursive (de)construction of Belgrade Pride 2009’. Sextures 2 (2), pp. 6-31.

Konstantinović, R. (2008 [1969]). Filozofija palanke. 6th edition. Beograd: Otkrovenje.

Lampe, J. R. (1996). Yugoslavia as History: Twice There Was a Country. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Raskin, V. (1985). Semantic Mechanisms of Humour. Dordrecht: Reidel.

Razsa, M. & Lindstrom N. (2004). ‘Balkan is beautiful: Balkanism in the political discourse of Tuđman’s Croatia’, East European Politics and Societies 18(2), pp. 1-23.

Searle, J. (1969). Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Searle, J. (1979). Expression and Meaning: Studies in the Theory of Speech Acts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Todorova, M. (1997). Imagining the Balkans. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Žarkov, D. (2007). The Body of War: Media, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Break-Up of Yugoslavia. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Publication ethics and malpractice statement