Identity and Ideological Positioning in Popular Nigerian Ethnic Jokes
Ethnic jokes are deeply rooted in the social structure of the contexts in which they are constructed being anchored on socially shared knowledge, beliefs, attitudes and ideologies of the people. This study investigates the discursive constructions of selected ethnic jokes to determine their expression of attitudinal and ideological dispositions of the ethnic groups within the multilingual/multicultural context of Nigeria. Findings reveal the cognitive states of the ethnic groups manifest in the construction of Others and the struggle for social power in the entertainment world. Therefore, inclusion or exclusion strategies are employed to signal consciousness of group identity and solidarity. In addition, ethnic jokes in the country construct stereotypes about linguo-cultural signs, that is, stereotypes that express attitudes about natural linguistic performance, perception of appropriate speech, typical topics and what language represents for people in inter- and intra- ethnic contexts. The study concludes that ethnic jokes in multi-ethnic Nigeria have been stripped of their stigmatising effect owing to the ability of Nigerians to laugh collectively at their perceived prejudices and stereotypes about their socio-cultural and linguistic behaviours.