US PRESIDENT 2.0 OR HOW NETIZENS USE MEMES TO REMIX POLITICS: From pre-election discourse to its critique through textual carnivalesque


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PhD thesis: a PhD thesis.
US PRESIDENT 2.0 OR HOW NETIZENS USE MEMES TO REMIX POLITICS: From pre-election discourse to its critique through textual carnivalesque
Rochat Alesia
Auer Anita
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté des lettres
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The present thesis examines an internet meme, an image and a caption commenting on it, which appears on social média and produces countless derivatives through imitation, remix and rapid diffusion by participants. This thesis adopts a transdisciplinary analytical perspective to study netizens' remixing practices during the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns in the USA. The data is explored through the lenses of remix with continuai shifts in theories and approaches, moving across disciplines and experimenting with différent perspectives. The research implements various methods and qualitative modes of enquiry from political discourse analysis, American history and cultural studies, textual linguistics, genre analysis, social semiotics, cognitive linguistics, visual rhetoric, remix studies, theoiy of carnival and scenography.
Throughout the entire thesis, 1 highlight the pivotai relationship of genre, discourse and text revealed in internet memes. Chapter Genre of internet meme scrutinises différent aspects of a meme as a specific genre of speech. It is concerned with the main components of récurrent situations of communication (the médium, chronotope features) and compositional regularity of internet memes or their most typical multimodal patterns. Chapter The political discourse of pre-election campaigns addresses the question of the global context that conditions the production of memes and describes the pre-electoral subset of political discourse with cultural spécifiés of the US context. Chapter The engagement in pre-election discourse through political memes examines public involvement in politics which results in a vast number of humorous imitations, remakes, parodies, knock-offs and collaborative remixes aimed at mocking officiai électoral discourse. It illustrâtes how internet meme makers create a sort of counter-discourse, a carnivalesque, a parallel virtual world, where the authority of officiai political institutions is inverted, albeit temporarily, during the anarchie and liberating period of the American élections online. Chapter Remix of discourses and genres continues the discussion of the topic of remix culture, focusing on interdiscourse and typological intertextuality as particular stratégies of text constitution of political memes. This camouflage practice involves the creative work of reopening textual structures, appropriating the contents, sampling texts and images, transforming its fragments, fitting to various generic patterns, commenting on différent ideological assumptions and stéréotypés with the purpose of criticising and/or highlighting original meanings. Eventually, in Chapter Remix from a cognitive perspective a shift from the visible textual surface is undertaken to model cognitive processes which underlie remix practices when coining internet memes. The chosen cognitive framework, the conceptual blending theory, not only explains how novel conceptualisations are engendered during remix but also sheds light upon creativity processes involved when reproducing memes.
The overall results provide the picture of how grassroots level netizens negotiate political meanings when remixing online. Instead of merely copying, remixers productively interpret the samples they exploit in their memes, thereby creatively modifying and repurposing the contents across digital média space. Internet users draw information from various sources, digitalise it, remix, create templates inviting other participants to collaborate, insert their own content, reframe political issues, generate new meanings and release back for further remix. An internet meme is therefore a form of political participation, one of the default ways to respond to political events, translating politics into pop culture content, relating it to everyday objects and fictional world, inspiring others to react. Various means of repackaging and reconfiguring precedent sources have demonstrated the ability of digital natives to manipulate the signification process, to enhance public awareness of political paradoxes and incite the criticism of one ideology and praise of another during the American presidential campaigns.
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02/04/2019 12:22
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27/08/2019 7:08
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