School of Social and Political Science

Sam Friedman

Job Title


Sam Friedman's photo
Mobile telephone number
07814 634822

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)



Thesis Overview

My research looks at the relationship between social class and taste in the consumption of British comedy. Although traditionally considered 'lowbrow', comedy has become increasingly popular among the culturally privileged since the 'Alternative Comedy Movement' of the late 1970s. Using a combination of a large-scale survey and semi-structured interviews administered at The Edinburgh Festivals, my research explores whether those with high cultural capital consume more 'highbrow' forms of comedy and whether they rarefy their consumption by employing an aesthetic style inaccessible to those with less cultural capital. Specifically, I aim to investigate whether an updated version of Bourdieu’s theory of distinction may be relevant when examining taste for contemporary British comedy.


(Forthcoming) "'There's something fundamental about what makes you laugh': Comedy Taste and Symbolic Boundaries", Cultural Sociology, (Special edition on boundary-drawing and socio-cultural inequality), 6 (2)

(Forthcoming) "Brass Eye, black humour, and comedy as cultural capital" in J.Leggott and J.Sexton (eds) The Comedy of Chris Morris, Palgrave Macmillan: London

(2011) "The Cultural Currency of a 'Good' Sense of Humour: British Comedy and New Forms of Distinction" British Journal of Sociology, 62 (2)

(2011) 'Foregrounding The Comedy Audience', Participations: International Journal of Audience Research, 8 (2)

(2010) "Dutch Courage: The Surreal World of Hans Teeuwen", Comedy Studies, 1(2)

(2010) "The Year of The Anti-Comedian", Comedy Studies, 1(1)

(2009) "Legitimating A Discredited Art Form: The Changing Field of British Comedy”, Edinburgh Working Papers in Sociology, No. 39, ISBN: 1-900522-73--X


Lecturer, "Class and Stratification", Sociology 1b, Spring 2012

Lecturer, "Youth Culture, Media and Society", Sociology Honours, Spring 2012

Lecturer, "Advanced Qualitative Data Analysis", Postgraduate Sociology, Spring 2012

Lecturer, "Art, Culture and Society", Open Studies, 2009-11

Nominated, Edinburgh University Teaching Awards 2009 and 2010

Educational Background

ESRC PhD quota award holder (2008-2011)
Msc (research) Sociology: Distinction, LSE (2008)
MA Sociology: First Class Honours, University of Edinburgh (2007)

Professional Affiliations

International Editorial Advisory Board, Comedy Studies, 2009-

Board of Trustees and Charity Secretary, The Tinderbox Project, 2009-

Other Involvements

I am the publisher and Managing Editor of Fest (, an arts magazine that runs during the Edinburgh Festivals. The magazine is a review and listings guide which deploys a team of 40 reviewers to cover every inch of the world’s largest arts Festival. Now in its ninth year, Fest has a circulation of over 100,000.

I have also written freelance for a number of other journalistic publications, including The Guardian, The Sunday Herald and The Big Issue. In August 2009 I was awarded the prestigious Allen Wright Award for Arts Journalism.

Research interests

Research interests

Comedy and Humour, Cultural Consumption, Class and Stratification

Research Dissemination

The findings of my research have attracted interest from the national and international media, including The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, BBC Radio 4's Thinking Allowed and abroad from The Age Newspaper in Australia and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Below are some links from recent press coverage:… (part 3, 10:30 minutes in)…

Works within