Item Details

On Humorous Exchanges

Menair, Marion Suzanne
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Menair, Marion Suzanne
Danziger, Eve Danziger
McKinnon, Susan
Handler, Richard
Contini-Morava, Ellen
Felski, Rita
In this dissertation I examine the patterns and uses of transgressive humor and sexual talk that male traders from Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) indulge in when at their leisure from trading. I investigate how cultural conceptualizations or ideologies are brought into the present moment through discursive interaction and how the cultural signs that are mobilized in interaction both presuppose and entail language users' relational positions in and conceptual knowledge of specific forms of human sociality. I argue that the seemingly trivial events of language use that take place on trading floors-interactions that include men's homophobic/erotic joking, grotesqueries such as eating contests and dares to simulate sexual acts, as well as an abundance of heterosexual puns, allusions and comments-mediate the historically contingent form of capitalism as it is practiced on American financial exchanges. Thus, I conclude that traders' joking and sexual talk is transgressive but not subversive. The naturalization of capitalism, the celebration of individualism and the renewal of the gendered spheres ideology are enacted and realized anew via out-of-awareness linguistic processes that are integral to traders' discursive interactions. So, although traders perceive both the nature of men and markets to be wild, out-of-control and in opposition to the hierarchy of other domains in society, from my analysis we can see traders' interactions not only as comparatively restrained but as a form of talk that invokes and anchors mainstream American cultural ideologies in experience. Note: Abstract extracted from PDF text
Date Received
University of Virginia, Department of Anthropology, PHD (Doctor of Philosophy), 2011
Published Date
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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