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ISSN 0869-5377
Author: Kolozaridi Polina

Kolozaridi Polina

Junior researcher, Research Unit, Laboratory for Political Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE). Address: 22 Myasnitskaya str., 101000 Moscow, Russia. E-mail:


Politics and Poetics in Conspiracy Theories / Logos. 2017. № 4 (119). P. 11-22
The Obscurity Meme / Logos. 2016. № 6 (115). P. 219-235
annotation:  This article analyses the term “meme,” its history, its ideological and theoretical background. The article aims to reveal the meaning of the term in different scientific and philosophical interpretations. The term “meme” was introduced by Richard Dawkins, who tried to embed culture into his theory of gene evolution. Hence, its meaning was similar to “gene” in Richard Dawkins’s interpretation. The term became popular in research, in culture, in popular science, and in the sphere of common sense. It is often used to describe online phenomena of funny pictures and phrases that spread quickly. The scientific use of the term supposes a specific ideological background. It is atheistic, technocratic, media-oriented and depicts the human being as a prosumer. This approach is not as developed in the fields of anthropology or sociology, yet it became widely used in research related to viral news or messages diffusion. The article claims that meme popularity is part of an attempt to conceptualize text and context in a new way, stressing the pragmatic aspects of messages exchanges. This claim builds on Marshall McLuhan’s and other media theorists’ idea of communication. The content of memes is similar to what Claude Lévi-Strauss called “bricolage,” and the social situation refers to Benjamin’s mechanical reproduction. Finally, the meme is compared to theories of popularity and celebrities, and is recognized as a conceptual language to describe the practice of consumption that is close to production. The key feature of meme in this context is that it does not produce new meanings; it only reproduces old ones.
Keywords:  meme; celebrity; internet; Richard Dawkins; Walter Benjamin; Claude Lévi-Strauss; Stoned Fox
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