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B04 Appropriating – Remixing – Sharing: How Internet Memes Intervene

Taking meme culture as an exemplary hybrid phenomenon, this research project examines the conditions and scope of (proto-)political agency in contemporary digital culture—between art and pop culture, user empowerment and platform capitalism, global circulation and community orientation.

Internet memes have the potential for mass or even global circulation (by going viral), but this is often counteracted by disconnections and community-specific formulations of content (relatability). As an affective media practice, they are part of a specific means of forming collectives (connectedness), and make a significant contribution to rendering everyday experiences and feelings politically salient. This practice may well focus on that which is overrepresented in the media, but it can also bring—as a point of departure—a common and shared focus to that which is underrepresented and excluded from the hegemonic order of visibility. From this perspective, memes prove to be interventionist tools in the micropolitics of the everyday. As such, they can register discriminatory experiences that exist beneath the perceptual threshold of mainstream media. SP 1 deals with theories of internet memes from a media-studies perspective, focusing on practices of appropriation as intervention. SP 2 looks at the circulation of affect in meme culture, while SP 3 examines how memes deal with race and racism.

Head of Project

Prof. Dr. Brigitte Weingart (UP 1)

Doctoral Researcher

Florian Schlittgen (UP 2)

Lisa Tracy Michalik (UP 3)

Student Assistant

José Amaro Santos Alves