Article published in:The Pragmatics of Internet Memes
Edited by Chaoqun Xie
[Internet Pragmatics 3:2] 2020
► pp. 283–320
Internet memes as multilayered re-contextualization vehicles in lay-political online discourse
It is well established that the internet meme has come to represent a highly creative discursive device used to “facilitate the […] communication of one’s own political beliefs, attitudes and orientations” (Ross and Rivers 2017: 1). Although internet memes and political internet memes in particular have been addressed to many communicative situations such as participatory culture (e.g., Jenkins 2006; Shifman 2014; Theocharis 2015), one aspect that has not been paid enough attention to concerns the forms in which users refer to individual political figures and events in political memes. This being said, the present paper focuses on referring strategies (see Kirner-Ludwig and Zimmermann 2015; Kirner-Ludwig 2020) as employed in political internet memes on Reddit, including direct and indirect quotes, citations and allusions. A specific focus is going to be on such political internet memes that employ pop cultural and telecinematic reference points and recontextualize them from their original into new target contexts (see Bublitz 2015; Gruber 2019). As shall be shown, practices such as combining constructed speech elements into recontextualized elements in political internet memes create multiple intertextual references that may enhance visibility, saliency and, thus, the ‘lifetime’ of a political meme.
Keywords: political internet memes, constructed speech, intertextuality, recontextualization, lay-political discourse, participatory culture, Reddit, Google images
Published online: 25 May 2020
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