Nasreddin Hoca and Tamerlane: Encounters with Power in the Turkish Folk Tradition of Laughter

Erdoğan, Necmi (Articol)

“The article analyzes a crucial element of the Turkish folk tradition of laughter, the corpus of Nasreddin Hoca anecdotes, in terms of the narrative encounter between the powerful and the powerless. Examining the anecdotes about Tamerlane, it argues that the humorous folk representations of the relation of the common people with power revolve around what de Certeau calls the “art of making do with”. Contrary to the argument that he is a colleague of Diogenes the kynic, Nasreddin Hoca does not self-consciously oppose and challenge the power of Tamerlane. He rather strives to cope with it through a wide spectrum of behaviors including avoidance, trickery, simulation, and repartee. Given that the Hoca is a fictional character, such anecdotes are to be taken as narratives of the predominantly evasive stance of the subaltern social classes and groups vis-à-vis the state in the Ottoman Empire. The study also refers to the grotesque imagery embedded in the Turkish folk laughter.”

Cuvinte cheie: anecdotes, folk laughter, grotesque, kynicism, making do with, Nasreddin Hoca, and Turkish folk culture

Revista de etnografie și folclor / Journal of Ethnography and Folklore

2013, nr. 1-2