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Social Media and Political Memes: Examining the Presence of Political Discourse in Our Current Online Environment

DOI: 10.15340/978-625-00-9894-3_9

Published: 2021 | Pages: 177 - 194

Jonathan C. Evans
Department of English, Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC 29115 USA

jonevans@claflin.edu

The persistence of memes on social media platforms from Twitter to Facebook to Instagram plays upon the humor, prejudices, and ideologies of the users who post and see them. The meme, or enthymeme (“rhetorical syllogism as Aristotle labeled it) relies upon the audience to accept the underlying presence found in the meme. This means relying on the audience to fill in meaning. The proliferation of memes and the fundamental misunderstanding of how they function (their inherent bias) challenges the ways we approach conceiving and understanding the social media-driven meaning and digital literacy. This chapter will attempt to understand where and what memes are, how memes generate meaning in our modern age, to dig deeper into this pervasive misunderstanding of the social media landscape, and what might be done.

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Jonathan Evans obtained his PhD in Rhetoric from Texas Woman’s University, his MA in English Literature with a focus on Rhetoric, Writing, and Linguistics from Northwestern State University, and his BA with a major in European History and a minor in Philosophy and Social Science from Northwestern State University. He is currently an Assistant Professor of English at Claflin University. He teaches writing and literature, with a focus on graphic novels, comics, visual mediums, and visual rhetoric. Currently he is working on a graphic novel about historical events at his university, as well as a book about Superman v. Donald Trump as models for American virtue and behavior. He has spent several years looking at and applying rhetorical analysis to memes and other forms of social media. His publications include serving as co-editor of the proceedings of the 1st Global Conference on the Graphic Novel at the University of Oxford. 

 

Cite this chapter as:

Evans, J., C. (2021). Social Media and Political Memes: Examining the Presence of Political Discourse in Our Current Online Environment In: Bakan U. & Lengel M. L. (eds) Social Media Archaeology from Theory to Practice (pp. 177-194). MacroWorld Pub. https://doi.org/10.15340/978-625-00-9894-3_9


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