Center for the Study of Language and Society

Memetic practice in social media: From repetition and imitation to critical recontextualization

Thursday, 2020/02/20, 14:00


Doctoral students of the GSAH are credited with 1 ECTS. For CSLS MA students, the workshop counts as one attended guest lecture.

Event organizer: Forum Language and Society
Speaker: Sirpa Leppänen
Date: 2020/02/20
Time: 14:00 - 16:00
Locality: Meeting room Walter Benjamin Kolleg
Unitobler
Muesmattstrasse 45
3012 Bern
Characteristics: open to the public
free of charge

This workshop highlights the power, forms and effects of repetition and imitation in communicative activities and interactions in networked digital contexts. It will do so by discussing repetition and imitation – replicative and mimetic practice – as virally spreading, memetic phenomena and by showing how repetition and imitation are not only about the same thing happening all over again –people and their routines, and patterns of their behaviour and culture repeating themselves ad infinitum. Rather, I will argue that repetition and imitation are not only about sameness, but they also involve the creation of new, and even subversive meanings. Repetition and imitation can thus serve as resources for doing things differently, against the grain, as critical and political action. In the session, we will investigate some of these powers, forms and effects of repetition and imitation with the help of a particularly prolific and resilient meme – dogs – a meme that seems now to be haunting the virtual lives of those of us who live in cultures appreciating dogs.

Professor Leppänen work draws on insights provided by sociolinguistics, discourse studies, the study of multimodality and cultural studies, investigating a range of informal and interest-driven social media discourses. She has published widely on the following topics: (1) semiotic (linguistic, discursive, visual, auditory) diversity as a resource for interaction and cultural production in translocal social media; (2) identifications and communality online; and (3) transgression as a means for cultural production, digital work and political activism.