This paper explores the use of memes on the Internet as units of imitation and replication inan attempt to understand their cultural, political and textual significance. Dawkins (1976)invented the neologism “meme” after the Ancient Greek word μίμημα (mīmēma), meaning“something imitated”, to characterise how cultural information spreads both diachronicallyfrom generation to generation and synchronically through exchanges between peers andmedia. In keeping with previous research (Arizzi 2013; Shifman 2014; Wiggins and Bowers2015), this paper views digital memes as hybrids which, once generated from an originalmatrix, will circulate on social media in ways that respond to Darwinian laws of naturalselection. They typically incorporate features of traditional textual strategies such as satire andirony but adapt these to the needs of today’s digital context of culture.The paper also suggests that the affordances of social media have changed traditional notionsof authorship. Digital meme analysis is a tool well suited to the investigation of sharedauthorships in today’s digital texts in which terms such as ‘addressor’ and ‘addressee’,‘readership’ and ‘writership’, and the roles attributed to them, require careful analysis. With itsbrief analysis of political memes relating to the 2016 American Presidential Election, the paperalso focuses on the politicization of memes (Ross and Rivers 2017). This special focusprovides both a suitable field in which to test out the validity of digital meme analysis and achance to reflect on the relevance of memes in interpreting the ties between politicalparticipation and grass-root movements.

Memes as a phenomenon of mobile culture. The politicization of a new digital genre

Cristina Arizzi
2017-01-01

Abstract

This paper explores the use of memes on the Internet as units of imitation and replication inan attempt to understand their cultural, political and textual significance. Dawkins (1976)invented the neologism “meme” after the Ancient Greek word μίμημα (mīmēma), meaning“something imitated”, to characterise how cultural information spreads both diachronicallyfrom generation to generation and synchronically through exchanges between peers andmedia. In keeping with previous research (Arizzi 2013; Shifman 2014; Wiggins and Bowers2015), this paper views digital memes as hybrids which, once generated from an originalmatrix, will circulate on social media in ways that respond to Darwinian laws of naturalselection. They typically incorporate features of traditional textual strategies such as satire andirony but adapt these to the needs of today’s digital context of culture.The paper also suggests that the affordances of social media have changed traditional notionsof authorship. Digital meme analysis is a tool well suited to the investigation of sharedauthorships in today’s digital texts in which terms such as ‘addressor’ and ‘addressee’,‘readership’ and ‘writership’, and the roles attributed to them, require careful analysis. With itsbrief analysis of political memes relating to the 2016 American Presidential Election, the paperalso focuses on the politicization of memes (Ross and Rivers 2017). This special focusprovides both a suitable field in which to test out the validity of digital meme analysis and achance to reflect on the relevance of memes in interpreting the ties between politicalparticipation and grass-root movements.
digital memes
collective identity
political discourse
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/546404
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