164 pages | 23 B/W Illus.
Shared, posted, tweeted, commented upon, and discussed online as well as off-line, internet memes represent a new genre of online communication, and an understanding of their production, dissemination, and implications in the real world enables an improved ability to navigate digital culture. This book explores cases of cultural, economic, and political critique levied by the purposeful production and consumption of internet memes. Often images, animated GIFs, or videos are remixed in such a way to incorporate intertextual references, quite frequently to popular culture, alongside a joke or critique of some aspect of the human experience. Ideology, semiotics, and intertextuality coalesce in the book’s argument that internet memes represent a new form of meaning-making, and the rapidity by which they are produced and spread underscores their importance.
Chapter One: Dawkins Revisited
A Brief History of the Term Meme and its Function
Memes and Viral media
Bridging the Viral Divide
Memes as a Cultural Commodity
Memes and Culture
It Doesn’t Meme What You Think
Memes and Internet Memes
Memes and the Role of Remix
You Can’t Touch My Meme
Attention and Reproducibility
An Elaboration of Shifman’s Typology of Memetic Dimension
Applying the Elaboration of Shifman’s Model to Image-Based Memes
Chapter 2: The Discursive Power of Memes in Digital Culture
Older Fears and New Rationalities
The Power of Discourse
Discourse as Ideology
Ideology and Internet Memes
Semiotics and Internet Memes
Intertextuality and Internet Memes
Chapter Three: Memes as Genre
Artifacts of Digital Culture
Toward a Genre Development of Memes: Structuration Theory
Structures and Systems
Duality of Structure
Maintenance, Elaboration, Modification: A Genre Development of Memes
TheMost Interesting Man in the World
Structuration in the Context of Memes
Do All Memes Follow the Genre Development?
Chapter 4: Political Memes
Technological Affordances and Ideological Practice
International Research into Internet Memes
Jokerizing Obama: Appropriations of Meaning
Obama as Joker, Trump as Joker?
What Exactly is a Political Meme?
Spain (and Catalonia)
Gamifying Political Discourse
Tabarnia: The Parody Makes the Real
Russia: Strategic Relativism and the Politics of Eternity
Interference in 2016
Russia’s 2018 Election: Participatory Culture or Political Malaise?
China, and the Question of Censoring Internet Memes
Crushing Criticism or Internet Sovereignty?
Elevation of the Semiotic: The China Dream
If You Don’t Like Reality, Change It
Chapter 5: Commercially-Motivated Strategic Messaging and Internet Memes
Commercial Usage of Memes and Copyright
Viral, by Design?
Where’s the Beef? Wendy’s Commercial as an Early Example Viral Media
The Role of Cool in Strategic Uses of Internet Memes
Numa Numa Guy and the Geico Lizard
Virgin Media, Vitamin Water, and the Success Kid
Delta Airline’s Internetest Safety Video
Chapter 6: Audience
Audiences and the Reception of Content, Historically
Beyond Effects: Uses and Gratifications
Stuart Hall: Dominant, Negotiated, and Oppositional Decoding
Toward a Meme-centric Understanding of Audience
Media Narratives, Television, and Internet Memes
Postmodern Tendencies of Television and Internet Memes
Internet Memes and the Imagined Audience
Chapter 7: Identity
Essentialism and Constructivism
Temporality and Instability of Identity
The Babadook: Horror Movie Monster as a Gay Icon?
Resonance: Babadook, Facebook, and Identity
March for Our Lives: Aftermath of the Parkland School Shooting
Role of Metaphor: Procatoptric Staging
Making Sense of It All
Meme-ing Ourselves to Death?
Chapter 8: Internet Memes as a Form of…Art?
The Bizarre, Absurd, Cringeworthy, Ironic, etc. as Expressions of Disillusionment
Dada, Surrealism, and Internet Memes
Structural Similarities between Dada and Internet Memes
Marcel Duchamp and the readymade
Internet Memes and Literary Linkages: Neue Sachlichkeit
René Magritte and The Treachery of Images (or La trahison des images)
Introducing a neo-Dadaist Semiotic
America First, Netherlands Second: The Most Fantastic, Absolutely Tremendous Analysis, Really. It’s Great.
A Neo-Dadaist Semiotic in Image-Based Internet Memes
Analysis: Using the Elaboration of the Model
This series is our home for innovative research in the field of digital media. It includes monographs and targeted edited collections that provide new insights into this subject as its influence and significance grow into the twenty-first century.
To submit a proposal for this series, please contact:
Suzanne Richardson, Commissioning Editor for Media, Cultural and Communication Studies