Subversive Memes: Internet Memes as a Form of Visual Rhetoric

Heidi E. Huntington

Abstract


The study examines internet memes as a form of representational discourse that subverts dominant media messages to create new meaning. The study draws parallels between memes and other forms of visual communication in the physical world. Using constructionist approaches to representation, the study makes a comparison of theoretical approaches to the study of memes, including semiotics and discourse. Based on the literature, the paper introduces a new theoretical approach for the study of memes by describing the theory of visual rhetoric as an appropriate theoretical and methodological lens for research on memes.

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