Internet meme as meaningful discourse: Towards a theory of multiparticipant popular online content

  1. Jakub Nowak


Departing from the cultural studies semiotic approach, this chapter seeks to analytically review shifts in roles of media users given increasingly participation-oriented media tools. Drawing upon the re-interpretation of Stuart Hall’s seminal encoding/decoding model of communication, the author proposes a theoretical concept of internet meme perceived as multiparticipant popular online content combining modalities of traditional (vertical and culture industryoriginated) and new (horizontal and peer-reproduced) modalities of media production and consumption. The author problematizes this concept by recontextualizing several aspects of Hall’s theory: 1) theoretical appropriation of four stages of Hall’s “chain of discourse” (messages’ production, circulation, use, reproduction) to a new — highly converged — media environment; 2) ambiguous status of internet meme’s authorship; 3) new contexts for analyzing internet memes, including: online pop-culture modalities, different strategies of “old” and “new” culture industries, Intellectual Property Rights policies.

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Central European Journal of Communication

Vol. 9, No 1 (16), Spring 2016

Pages from 73 to 89

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