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Tom 9 Nr 1: Spring 2016

Internet meme as meaningful discourse: Towards a theory of multiparticipant popular online content

  • Jakub Nowak
maja 11, 2016


Departing from the cultural studies semiotic approach, this chapter seeks to analytically review shifts in roles of media users given increasingly participation-oriented media tools. Drawing upon the re-interpretation of Stuart Hall’s seminal encoding/decoding model of communication, the author proposes a theoretical concept of internet meme perceived as multiparticipant popular online content combining modalities of traditional vertical and culture industryoriginated and new horizontal and peer-reproduced modalities of media production and consumption. The author problematizes this concept by recontextualizing several aspects of Hall’s theory: 1 theoretical appropriation of four stages of Hall’s “chain of discourse” messages’ production, circulation, use, reproduction to a new — highly converged — media environment; 2 ambiguous status of internet meme’s authorship; 3 new contexts for analyzing internet memes, including: online pop-culture modalities, different strategies of “old” and “new” culture industries, Intellectual Property Rights policies.