Meme-ing Europe: examining the Europeanization of humorous discourse in an online meme community

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Series Details Volume 27, Number 3, Pages 317-342
Publication Date June 2019
ISSN 1478-2790
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Abstract :

This paper examines manifestations of Europeanization in online community whose purpose is to create and share memes on European issues. The group, referred to in this study as the European Meme Society, exhibits memes, which, at their simplest, refer to images, text, and videos that spread from person to person via the Internet, and are altered and repeated for a short period of time.

Posts on the page include humorous stereotypes about European states, references to historical events, jokes about current events such as Brexit, and quips against Europe’s Others, such as the United States of America, Russia, and North Korea. The study’s main objective is to explore how memes can discursively shape Europeanization.

It is argued that although the online community’s primary purpose is to be facetious, the meme posts provide insight into deeper issues. Through their interactions, community members articulate their positions on what Europe is, what it means to be European, and highlight the ideas, perspectives, events, and topics that serve as common reference points among members of the group. In this way, the posts in the European Meme Society exemplify how Europeanization is discursively shaped through humorous content in an online meme community.

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