Rebrina L.N., Shamne N.L. Internet Memes as a Relevant Format of Political Communication in Germany (The Case of the Thematic Group “Olaf Scholz”)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2022.4.3

Larisa N. Rebrina

Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor, Department of Foreign Language Communication and Linguodidactics, Volgograd State University

Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russia

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0512-980X

Nikolay L. Shamne

Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor, Head of the Institute of Philology and Intercultural, Volgograd State University

Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russia

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5745-8907


Abstract. The article presents the study of the semantic and functional characteristics of political Internet memes of the thematic group "Olaf Scholz" in 2020–2022 in Germany. The main parameters for characteristics of memes include place and date, types of addressing, origin and initiator, object and subject of ironic-critical interpretation, the level of inclusion in culture, replicated components, functioning specifics of the precedent phenomenon, interaction paths between visual and verbal, patterns of meaning generation, means of creating comic effect, resulting impact, field structure, genre varieties. Most memes about O. Scholz spontaneously originated within the German linguaculture, reflect the reaction to a specific event, and are addressed to a part of society that is informed about the current national political agenda. The object of criticism unite both characteristics of a politician and his actions. The main subjects of criticism include incompetence, bad reputation, denial of the obvious, insufficient attention to national interests, low performance. Memes appeal mainly to actual precedent phenomena. The background of the precedent phenomenon rarely plays a significant role in generating meaning. The visual component is mostly subject to replication. The visual arrangement imminently contains the image of O. Scholz, optionally bearing symbols of certain actions / events / values, other people with stereotyped relationships, spatial objects as signs of properties attributed to the leader. Consonance-and-complementary relations prevail in coordination among visual and verbal representations. The main sources of the comic effect embody dissonance of the verbal and visual components, transfer of the case of the everyday sphere to the political one; visual accentuation of the elements of the verbal component; identification of the object of criticism with a comic character. Relevant genre varieties of memes about O. Scholz are macros, advice and demotivational memes, and IM parodies. A meme has a field organization, including a constant core formed by a visual template and the generalized meaning.

Key words: protest communication, Internet communication, Internet memes, genre varieties, meaning formation, field structure, visual and verbal components, dichotomies.

Citation. Rebrina L.N., Shamne N.L. Internet Memes as a Relevant Format of Political Communication in Germany (The Case of the Thematic Group "Olaf Scholz"). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 2. Yazykoznanie [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics], 2022, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 38-58. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2022.4.3

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