Memeology Festival 08. Beneficent Memes

“Kindness isn’t part of anyone’s nature. You have to make yourself do it, like sit-ups.” – Garrison Keillor To meme is to engage creatively with a popular (and therefore recognizable) cultural artifact. Memes are a mode of participatory culture. They give us a common language from which to act politically. There are different levels of […]

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Memeology Festival 07. Memetic Disparaging Dissent: Memes Against the Oppressor in Azerbaijan

Introduction Groups have long used disparaging humor to differentiate themselves from other groups, establish boundaries, and enjoy “vicarious superiority.” Memetic disparagement, however, is possibly a more powerful form of disparagement because of the low cost, speed of distribution, and lack of attribution, but more importantly because memes’ inherent sharedness—the genre is built on inside jokes […]

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Memeology Festival 06. Political Viral Memetics: Challenging Institutions of Power

Virality has by definition some elements of memetics. However, memetics is not necessarily viral. We, researchers, often think about memetics as an evolutionary participatory process of sharing common cultural and social characteristics of groups of digital items (see Limor Shifman’s book and discussion on scholarship of memetics), where there is enough variation from the original […]

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Memeology Festival 05. Memes as Ritual, Virals as Transmission? In Praise of Blurry Boundaries

Something good is happening to meme research. If just a few years ago the term itself was highly contested, associated with deterministic or biology-oriented approaches, today it is used in a growing number of studies to explore various aspects of Internet culture (Thanks to Kate Miltner, I can now leave this term unexplained). The study […]

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Memeology Festival 04. On Hashtaggery and Portmanteaugraphy: Memetic Wordplay as Social Media Practice

I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a meme scholar outright; rather, the memes within my research have emerged from studying everyday practices and cultures of social media, within political and topical discussions, as well as popular culture and fandom contexts. This piece is an extension of ideas that have come out of my recent work around […]

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