On the face of it, fun is antithetical to the serious trade of the military profession, models of the decent and responsible soldier, and the strains of military life. However, military scholars acknowledge that humour forms an integral part of soldier culture. Still, these works largely highlight the psychological and social functions that humour serves in other social contexts as well. Instead, the paper identifies a form of humour that is particularly conspicious within the military. The argument is that the German notion Schlagfertigkeit captures a humorous skill that entails several soldierly qualities. Through exploring the semantics and performance of Schlagfertigkeit, the paper thus demonstrates how humour practices produces the soldier subject.

Eva Johais

Post Doctoral Researcher

Recent CMI publications: