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Workshop

Mapping the Memetic Antagonistisms of the Deep Vernacular Web

  • Marc Tuters (University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Richard Rogers
E1 05 (Leibniz-Saal)

Abstract

This presentation offers an overview of how niche online communities use specialized fora to create and spread alternative styles of thought and networks of discursive references. We look at how their tactics, their mythos and their peculiar vernacular theories may be seen to have an influence on certain areas within mainstream social media, in particular through the spread of “alt-right” internet memes.

While new media “meme theorists” have in the past sought to conceptualize the use political memes in terms of a protest against liberal consensus politics — where consensus is seen as “the crystallization of relations of power” (Mouffe 1997, p.28) — we find repeated expressions of “absolute enmity” (Schmitt 1962) that would seem to precluded the possibility for such productive disagreement.

Emerging then from partially indexed regions of the web, that we call the “deep vernacular web”, our analysis furthermore considers aspects of the relationships between these online communities and the technical affordances of their platforms — where for example, in the case of the anonymous 4chan fora, memes can be understood as “credibility mechanisms” for demonstrating one’s in-group status in the absence of any persistent repetitional markers.

Antje Vandenberg

Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences (Leipzig), Germany Contact via Mail

Eckehard Olbrich

Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences (Leipzig), Germany

Sven Banisch

Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences (Leipzig), Germany