Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Communication Studies


Mass Communications.


Winter, James P.,




Taking British cultural studies as its point of departure, this thesis seeks to discover the cultural meanings of humour which are potentially opposite to dominant ideology. Studies of five single cases were conducted to reach an understanding of the patterns and common tendencies in the underlying subjectivity of the reception of humour by the Chinese media audience. Some 60 cartoons selected from the Chinese journals published during the years of 1990 and 1991 constituted a Q-sample. Five Chinese respondents were invited to sort the Q-sample under 8 conditions of instruction: Chinese tradition, the Chinese government's point of view, present Chinese culture, ideals, the students' point of view, a playful attitude, Western culture and self. The factor structures which resulted from Q-sorting show striking distinctions between the government's point of view and the respondents' self perceptions. Most of them idealized the students, who openly confronted the government ideological control in the 1989 movement. Although one of the respondents idealized the government's points of view, he acknowledged the difference between words and deeds of the government. Respondents appear to be tolerant about Western culture as well as traditional culture of China, both of which are strongly opposed by the Chinese government, through the mass media, in order to maintain its ideological conformity. Also according to the results of the study, play elements are active in the present culture, containing potential threats to ideological control. Interviews with respondents assisted in making comprehensive interpretations of their factor structures. Cultural studies approaches to the study of media reception have focused on differing interpretations, attributable to an individual's social status and interests. This thesis, however, attempts to discover the potential of oppositional meanings in a culture, through people's underlying subjectivity in media reception of humour. (Abstract shortened by UMI.) Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 32-02, page: 0383. Adviser: James P. Winter. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1993.