‘Who is /ourguy/?’: Tracing panoramic memes to study the collectivity of 4chan/pol/

  title={‘Who is /ourguy/?’: Tracing panoramic memes to study the collectivity of 4chan/pol/},
  author={Sal Hagen},
  journal={New Media \& Society},
  • S. Hagen
  • Published 9 February 2022
  • Art
  • New Media & Society
This article explores how Internet memes can be traced as nodal points for the study of online groups. Such ‘meme tracing’ is specifically pertinent to the study of anonymous imageboards like 4chan, where inquiry cannot be easily based on the individual. Drawing from actor-network theory, I argue ‘panoramic memes’ – memes that repeatedly paint a totalising picture of a collective – are especially useful to identify what narratives hold such anonymous groups together. To operationalise this, I… 


Internet memes as contested cultural capital: The case of 4chan’s /b/ board
The dualities underpinning memes’ structure lead to their performance as contested cultural capital, and when memes are used as jabs at the most intense points of arguments, they function simultaneously as signifiers of superior authoritative status and as reminders of common affinity.
#Gamergate and The Fappening: How Reddit’s algorithm, governance, and culture support toxic technocultures
The ways in which Reddit’s karma point system, aggregation of material across subreddits, ease of subreddit and user account creation, governance structure, and policies around offensive content serve to provide fertile ground for anti-feminist and misogynistic activism are considered.
"There's no place for lulz on LOLCats": The role of genre, gender, and group identity in the interpretation and enjoyment of an Internet meme
LOLCat enthusiasts are used as a case study for exploring some of the social and cultural forces that contribute to memes’ popularity, both individually and as a whole, and it is shown that individual memes can be used by multiple groups for identity work as well as in–group boundary establishment and policing.
Médialab stories: How to align actor network theory and digital methods
The history of laboratories may become controversial in social sciences. In this paper, the story of Sciences Po Médialab told by Venturini et al. is discussed and completed by demonstrating the
The Modes of Visual Rhetoric: Circulating Memes as Expressions
The speed, scale, and shape of digital circulation pose numerous challenges for rhetorical analysis that seeks to analyze image-texts in context. This paper develops a framework for the rhetorical
Teh Internet Is Serious Business
At the fringes of an increasingly hegemonic platform economy, there exists another web of anonymous forums and image boards whose unique “mask culture” the article aims to deconstruct by tracing its
Memes in Digital Culture
In December 2012, the exuberant video "Gangnam Style" became the first YouTube clip to be viewed more than one billion times. Thousands of its viewers responded by creating and posting their own
Diving in magma: how to explore controversies with actor-network theory
The cartography of controversies is a set of techniques to explore and visualize issues. It was developed by Bruno Latour as a didactic version of Actor-Network Theory to train college students in
Digital Methods
Richard Rogers proposes repurposing Web-native techniques for research into cultural change and societal conditions and introduces a new vision and method for Internet research that applies them to the Web's objects of study, from tiny particles to large masses.
On the Origins of Memes by Means of Fringe Web Communities
This paper detects and measure the propagation of memes across multiple Web communities, using a processing pipeline based on perceptual hashing and clustering techniques, and a dataset of 160M images from 2.6B posts gathered from Twitter, Reddit, 4chan's Politically Incorrect board, and Gab, over the course of 13 months.