chapter  15
24 Pages

Internet Memes as Polyvocal Political Participation

ByAndrew S. Ross, Damian J. Rivers

This chapter offers a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of a selection of Internet memes devised and circulated in relation to the 2016 US presidential election. It focuses on the discursive (including visual) and social practices associated with the memes in line with N. Fairclough's three-dimensional framework to CDA. In order to provide evidence of the multitude of ways that Internet memes developed and demonstrated political engagement parallel to the unfolding electoral process, the chapter targets the within-group opposition that occurred during the primaries and the active delegitimization of candidates throughout the general-election campaign. It shows that the memes exemplify what Milner has termed "polyvocality," this being an increasing volume and diversity of "voices involved in public discussion", voices that often amplify, distort, challenge, and undermine those found within mainstream media. The chapter demonstrates how Internet memes can be used in "making a point" in relation to politics and in particular the 2016 election.