The Rise of Meme Culture: Internet Political Memes as Tools for Analysing Philippine Propaganda
Keywords:Memes, Propaganda, Semiotics, Politics, Digital Media
This research paper was aimed at providing a thorough content analysis on memes’ linguistic aspect and further understanding them in the light of their usage as political propaganda. A total of 60 memes were culled from July 2016 to December 2018. According to the memes’ linguistic and visual organization, they have the ability to create and simplify complex political narratives by employing primarily the categories of Shops, Text, and Stacked Stills based on Milner’s (2012) Taxonomy of Meme Collectives. The memes’ humor signifiers were mainly intertextuality, parody, and binary opposition which highlighted how memes are contextual in nature and use exaggeration and opposing concepts to elicit humor. On the other hand, the memes vary in their respective denotations as well as in their connotations which often point to humanization and discreditation. Lastly, for the memes’ propaganda characteristics, they possess all 10 of Walton’s (1997) propaganda characteristics while the audience perceived 9 out of 10 through the conducted survey. This proves that memes do have the potential to be used as tools for propaganda because of their inherent manipulation of complex political narratives which are furthered through the use of humor.
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