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 values: those of the far-right as a social movement and those characterizing memetic communication on social media. We studied this notion through a case from Italy: the photo-based meme genre of ‘alternative calendar commemorations’ that memorialize events or figures important to the far-right imaginary. A multi-modal qualitative analysis based on Schwartz’s theory of personal and political values yielded mixed results. As expected, we found strong appeals to collectivistic values such as patriotism and tradition. Yet some of the individualistic values associated with memes, such as self-direction and authenticity, were also evident in the corpus. We conclude by discussing how this blend of values challenges both well-established value theories and perceptions about the political work of far-right memes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme [grant agreement No 819004]. We are indebted to the two anonymous reviewers, special issue editors Mette Mortensen and Christina Neumayer, as well as to Blake Hallinan and Ofra Klein for their useful and insightful comments. We also thank Anna Balestrieri for her meticulous coding of the content surveyed in this study.
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- political memes
- social media