(((They))) rule: Memetic antagonism and nebulous othering on 4chan

@article{Tuters2020TheyRM,
  title={(((They))) rule: Memetic antagonism and nebulous othering on 4chan},
  author={Marc Tuters and Sal Hagen},
  journal={New Media \& Society},
  year={2020},
  volume={22},
  pages={2218 - 2237}
}
Previously theorised as vehicles for expressing progressive dissent, this article considers how political memes have become entangled in the recent reactionary turn of Web subcultures. Drawing on Chantal Mouffe’s work on political affect, this article examines how online anonymous communities use memetic literacy, memetic abstraction, and memetic antagonism to constitute themselves as political collectives. Specifically, it focuses on how the subcultural and highly reactionary milieu of 4chan’s… 

Figures from this paper

Boogaloo and Civil War 2: Memetic antagonism in expressions of covert activism
TLDR
The study found that hypernarrative storytelling serves the movement in terms of identity negotiation and consolidation as well as the presence of deeply contextualized and situated logics within an emergent boogaloo discourse.
Memetic commemorations: remixing far-right values in digital spheres
ABSTRACT This paper examines memetic content as a window into the values expressed by far-right constituents. Our main premise was that far-right memes are a site of interaction between two types of
Murder fantasies in memes: fascist aesthetics of death threats and the banalization of white supremacist violence
ABSTRACT This paper traces the recent turn to humour, irony and ambiguity embodied in the adaptation of memes into the repertoire of online propaganda of the militant neo-Nazi group the Nordic
Neoliberalism, the Alt-Right and the Intellectual Dark Web
Drawing on research from digital media studies, political theory and rhetoric, this article explores online radical conservative and reactionary ‘ideological entrepreneurs’. It argues that online
On the Vernacular Language Games of an Antagonistic Online Subculture
TLDR
An empirical, big data approach is developed to analyze how alt-right vernacular concepts were used on the notorious anonymous and ephemeral imageboard 4chan/pol/ and the fan wiki Encyclopedia Dramatica from 2012-2020—a period during which the white supremacist “alt-right” movement arose online.
COVID-19 and viral anti-Asian racism: A multimodal critical discourse analysis of memes and the racialization of the COVID-19 pandemic
TLDR
It is concluded that memes are particularly powerful communicative tools in racialized discourse because their use of polysemy, humour and cultural reference allows them to subvert the mechanisms that sanction openly racist statements.
Caveat emptor: boycott through digital humour on the wave of the 2019 Hong Kong protests
ABSTRACT This paper addresses the topic of social media users’ polyvocal political activism facilitated by participatory culture and expressed through multimodal digital humour (including humorous
TRANSCODING BETWEEN HYPER-ANTAGONISTIC MILIEUS: STUDIES ON THE CROSS-PLATFORM RELATIONS BETWEEN RADICAL POLITICAL WEB SUBCULTURES
TLDR
Transcoding between Hyper-Antagonistic Milieus and Cross-Platform Relations between Radical Political Web Subcultures is presented at AoIR 2020, the 21st Annual Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers.
‘How do I become blue pilled?’: Masculine ontological insecurity on 4chan’s advice board
Through an analysis of 4chan’s /adv/ or ‘advice’ board – in which predominately male users seek advice on life matters – here we examine masculine ontological insecurity and its implications for
The Masks We Wear: Watchmen, Infrastructural Racism, and Anonymity
As COVID-19 has led to the politicization of masks and the donning of masks, the prescient commentary that emerges from HBO’s Watchmen speaks to our contemporary moment, replete with animosity,
...
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 88 REFERENCES
Internet memes as contested cultural capital: The case of 4chan’s /b/ board
TLDR
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.
"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
TLDR
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.
Pop Polyvocality: Internet Memes, Public Participation, and the Occupy Wall Street Movement
From the inception of Occupy Wall Street (OWS), participatory media played a key role in the movement. Members of the public engaged OWS on sites like Tumblr and reddit. Central to the discussion
On Populist Reason
In this new and highly original work Ernesto Laclau continues the philosophical and political exploration initiated in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time
Politically incorrect participatory media: Racist nationalism on r/ImGoingToHellForThis
TLDR
It is argued that the “cloaks” that obscure online racism can be at once highly obvious and highly effective, and scholars must also examine how racism flourishes while hiding in plain sight by tracing how racist discourses assemble in participatory media communities.
Antisemitism: Here and Now
Deborah E. Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, decided to write Antisemitism: Here and Now upon the realization that “today, antisemitism is
Online Antagonism of the Alt-Right in the 2016 Election
Buoyed by the populist campaign of Donald Trump, the “alt-right,” a loose political movement based around right-wing ideologies, emerged as an unexpected and highly contentious actor during the
Agonistics: Thinking the World Politically
Political conflict in our society is inevitable, and the results are often far from negative. How then should we deal with the intractable differences arising from complex modern culture? In
Introduction: The Shared Story of Europe’s Ideas of the Muslim and the Jew—A Diachronic Framework
Twenty days after the beginning of the events that led to the murders in the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine and the kosher supermarket in Paris, French President Francois Hollande delivered a
Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics
Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies is an impassioned call for the realization of a progressive left politics in the United States. Through an assessment of the ideologies underlying
...
...