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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Mimesis of the Meme
by Luu, Vivian, M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2012, 79; 10305742
Abstract (Summary)

This paper considers the effects and implications of shifting the production of popular online artifacts known as "memes" from a gift economy into the commercial economy. While the first Internet memes are pieces of content created, "discovered" and circulated for free by everyday users of the Internet, an insurgence of branded memes manufactured by companies and their hired advertising agencies suggests a transition of the meme into a commodified space. This mimesis of the meme prescribes the role of advertisement to the artifact in addition to its existing function as a spectacle for the online audience.

Examination of this transformation occurs in two parts. First is a theoretical analysis of the meme as a Technology of the Self as defined by Michel Foucault to further explicate the relationship between the formulation of the online self and the meme. The second part is a political economic/political economy (discuss language) analysis of the flows of social and economic capital as defined by Pierre Bourdieu. The aim of this exercise is to identify shifts in power observed among commercial memes and non-commercial memes, and then consider the implications of those shifts.

Keywords: Meme, Meme Parody, Virality, Social Capital, Technology of the Self

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Payne, Robert
Commitee: Doyle, Waddick
School: The American University of Paris (France)
Department: Global Communication
School Location: France
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Marketing, Web Studies
Keywords: Meme, Meme parody, Social capital, Virality
Publication Number: 10305742
ISBN: 978-1-369-49306-1
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