Festival of Memeology

This collection of essays at Culture Digitally began its life as a pair of panels spanning the last two annual meetings of the International Communication Association. At the 2014 meeting in Seattle, Washington and the 2015 meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, various configurations of the contributors in this collection met to discuss the cultures and communicative practices associated with internet memes and viral media. Our shared goal was to bring smart people together to start to think about these digital media genres—still emerging only a few years ago and now seemingly ubiquitous—above the level of the individual example. Together, we asked questions about how internet memes and viral media might be defined, their roles in popular culture, their relationships to far older scientific and scholarly traditions, and their public implications. Two years and two discussions that ended too quickly later, we decided to write up some of our key arguments from the panels. We’ve compiled these write-ups here, in what we’ve taken to calling “The Culture Digitally Festival of Memeology.” (Ryan Milner and Jean Burgess)


The Culture Digitally Festival of Memeology: An Introduction (October 23, 2015) — Ryan Milner and Jean Burgess

1. Memes are Dead; Long Live Memetics (October 27, 2015) — Ryan Milner

2. From #Feels to Structure of Feeling: The Challenges of Defining “Meme Culture” (October 29, 2015) — Kate Miltner

3. Memes, Cool Traps, and Performing Legitimacy: Where the Researcher Fits in All This (November 3, 2015) — Whitney Phillips

4. On Hashtaggery and Portmanteaugraphy: Memetic Wordplay as Social Media Practice (November 5, 2015) — Tim Highfield

5. Memes as Ritual, Virals as Transmission? In Praise of Blurry Boundaries (November 10, 2015) — Limor Shifman

6. Political Viral Memetics: Challenging Institutions of Power (November 12, 2015) — Karine Nahon

7. Memetic Disparaging Dissent: Memes Against the Oppressor in Azerbaijan (November 17, 2015) — Katy Pearce

8. Beneficent Memes (November 19, 2015) — Lisa Silvestri