MEMETIC COMMEMORATIONS: REMIXING FAR-RIGHT VALUES IN DIGITAL SPHERES
Keywords:Far right, Italy, Social media, Social movements, Values
Memes are efficient tools for far-right activism. They also offer a window into the reactionary values expressed by far-right constituents in digital spheres. In this paper, we conceptualize memes as a meeting place between the values of the far-right and the values characterizing memetic communication on social media. We examined this process through the lens of Schwartz’s theory of basic human values and a case study from Italy. Specifically, we focus on a photo-based meme genre that we named “alternative calendar commemorations.” These memes memorialize events or figures that are key to the imaginary of the far-right. As expected, we found strong appeals to collectivistic values such as patriotism and tradition. However, we also found a partial re-negotiation of the collectivistic values of the far-right through some of the individualistic values intrinsic to memes. In conclusion, we discuss the implications of this new amalgamation between context-specific far-right values and those embedded in the globalizing format of digital memes.