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Immigrants' humorous play with ethnic stereotypes can have a bonding effect

Header image to news story about Henriette Frees

Henriette Frees Esholdt has written the article "Virgins, Terrorists, and Ten Children: Immigrants' Humorous Play with Ethnic Stereotypes in Bonding with Danes in the Workplace" published in the journal Symbolic Interaction.

The article explores immigrants' self‐directed ethnic humor in collegial relationships drawing on fieldwork in a multi‐ethnic workplace, an industrial kitchen in Denmark.

It emphasizes the bonding functions of ethnic humor and approaches ethnic humor from a symbolic interactionist perspective rather than adopting the dominant conflict approach.

The article argues that immigrants' engagement in playful behavior with ethnic stereotypes in interactions with Danes is a form of “impression management” in which they defuse ethnic stereotypes and dissociate themselves from them by building joking relationships in the workplace with Danes.

Watch a video where Henriette Frees Esholdt explains her article.

Symbolic Interaction is the journal of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction.

Henriette Frees Esholdt's personal page.