Captain Cook meets General Macarthur in the northern Kimberley: Humour and ritual in an Indigenous Australian life-world

Captain Cook meets General Macarthur in the northern Kimberley: Humour and ritual in an Indigenous Australian life-world Journal Article

Anthropological Forum

  • Author(s): Redmond, Anthony
  • Published: 2008
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Volume: 18
  • ISBN: 0066-4677

Abstract: Freud argued that what is common to all comic techniques is ?the fact that in each of them something familiar is rediscovered, where we might instead have expected something new. This rediscovery of what is familiar is pleasurable? (1960 [1923], 120). In the analysis offered in his 1905 work, Jokes and their relation to the Unconscious (1963a), the further apart the two conceptual entities that are brought together in an innovative use of words or gestures, the greater is the pleasure in the short-circuit created between them. The joke, then, can be understood as instance of the more general category of the innovative metaphor, that is to say, the transfer of meaning across domains, which, while holding onto the original referent of a symbol, simultaneously creates a new relation that extends the original meaning. The strength of this innovative spark across conceptual poles is correlative to the tension that marks their difference. This short-circuit may produce a revelatory and/or comic effect. In this paper I explore an Australian Aboriginal corroboree of the Ngarinyin people from north-western Australia, in which this kind of innovatory spark is used to make new sense of racial power and violence.

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Suggested Citation
Redmond, Anthony, 2008, Captain Cook meets General Macarthur in the northern Kimberley: Humour and ritual in an Indigenous Australian life-world, Volume:18, Journal Article, viewed 16 June 2024, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=38631.

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