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Title: 'Mah LOLthesis let me show u it' : the (re)making and circulation of participatory culture : memes, creativity and networks
Author: Esteves, Victoria Emma Dantas
ISNI:       0000 0004 8502 713X
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2018
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Internet memes have become ubiquitous in our everyday experiences, both online and offline, permeating a variety of fields; not only are they prevalent in our communications among friends and strangers, they are also present in our political, commercial and cultural experiences. Memes are collective exercises in meaning making and creativity made both inter-personally and globally through sharing, which is built into the craft-like ethos of internet philosophy. Alternative 20th century strategies (e.g. collage, détournement, culture jamming) underlie much of current online interaction, embodying collaborative cultural practices - currently enabled by the accessibility to remix technology - that echo previous movements (e.g. punk, craft, Situationists International). Online memes are the intersection between participatory culture, remixing and intercreativity. Whilst literacy of formal aspects might lead to exclusivity, the low level of literacy required to engage with memes makes global access possible. However, this democratic potential might be threatened by the recuperation process that inhibits memes' ability to perform counter-cultural roles, as wide circulation of memes has led to re-appropriations by politicians and commercial advertising. This thesis maps out meme use in a multitude of arenas including: politics (online debate and in protests), commerce (merchandise, use in advertising), and other cultural spaces (from LOLcat art to Lolita subculture). Additionally it follows the unfolding of the Doge meme closely across these spheres, providing insight into phenomena such as Dogecoin tipping and mass charitable actions performed under this meme. Ultimately, memes are successfully used across various groups and types of relationships (although at times met with some resistance), as their elasticity is able to accommodate the incarnations that place value upon spreadable meaning on a global scale.
Supervisor: Haynes, Richard ; Singh, Greg Sponsor: University of Stirling
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: online memes ; internet ; politics ; craftivism ; commercialisation ; communication ; remix ; participatory culture ; LOLcats ; Doge ; networks ; creativity ; Memes ; Memetics ; Social media ; Culture diffusion ; Internet memes--Political aspects