Article published in:The Pragmatics of Internet Memes
Edited by Chaoqun Xie
[Internet Pragmatics 3:2] 2020
► pp. 260–282
Exploring local meaning-making resources
A case study of a popular Chinese internet meme (biaoqingbao)
This study examines various combinations of visual and textual meaning-making resources in a popular Chinese meme. The meme features an exogenous image – the grinning facial expression of a U.S. wrestler, D’Angelo Dinero – that has been recontextualized into numerous other visual texts, to create semiotic ensembles with local meanings, which are then distributed across Chinese social media platforms. We analyzed 60 of these image macros, and our findings show that local meanings are created when Dinero’s facial expression is blended with visual references to Chinese digital culture, Chinese popular culture, Chinese social class issues, Chinese politics, and Chinese institutions. The majority of textual elements in the image macros are Chinese; however, the handful of examples that also include other languages typically involve multilingual wordplay and carnivalesque themes. We argue that although the multivalency of the wrestlers’ facial expression invites interpretations of a wide range of affective meanings, an overarching rebellious or transgressive stance is consistent across individual texts.
Keywords: multimodality, humor, image macros, Chinese social media, resemiotization
Published online: 19 November 2019
Adegoju, Adeyemi, and Oluwabunmi Oyebode
Blommaert, Jan, Ying Lu, and Kunming Li
2019 “From the self to the selfie.” Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies paper 222. https://www.tilburguniversity.edu/sites/tiu/files/download/TPCS_222_Blommaert-Lu-Li.pdf (accessed 5 May 2019).
Chen, Sylvia Xiaohua, Fanny M. Cheung, Michael Harris Bond, and Jin-Pang Leung
China Internet Network Information Center
2018 Statistical Report on Internet Development in China. Beijing: CNNIC. https://cnnic.com.cn/IDR/ReportDownloads/201807/P020180711391069195909.pdf (accessed 5 May 2019).
Dancygier, Barbara, and Lieven Vandelanotte
He, Ziran, and Xuelin He
Laineste, Liisi, and Piret Voolaid
2018 “Emojis as a cash cow: Biaoqingbao-hatched economic practice in online China.” Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies paper 217. https://www.tilburguniversity.edu/sites/tiu/files/download/TPCS_217_Lu_2.pdf (accessed 5 May 2019).
2016 “Mexicans be like.” Working Paper in Educational Linguistics 31(1): 69–86. https://repository.upenn.edu/wpel/vol31/iss1/4 (accessed 5 May 2019).
Ross, Andrew S., and Damian J. Rivers
Varis, Piia, and Jan Blommaert
Wang, Shaojung Sharon
2012 “China’s internet lexicon: The symbolic meaning and commoditization of Grass Mud Horse in the harmonious society.” First Monday 17(1–2): https://firstmonday.org/article/view/3758/3134#author (accessed 5 May 2019).
Wiggins, Bradley E., and G. Bret Bowers
Yang, Guobin, and Min Jiang
Zenner, Eline, and Dirk Geeraerts
2017 “Heteroglossic Chinese online literacy practices on micro-blogging and video-sharing sites.” Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of South Florida. https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/etd/6788 (accessed 1 June 2018).
Cited by 5 other publications
Dynel, Marta & Jan Chovanec
Dynel, Marta & Fabio Indìo Massimo Poppi
Vásquez, Camilla & Erhan Aslan
Ying, Lu & Jan Blommaert
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 27 april 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.