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Mapping the Meme: A Geographical Approach to Materialist Rhetorical Criticism

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Abstract:

Memetics, the emerging and contested "science" of the meme, has much to offer critical communication studies. The meme, a replicator that functions as the basic unit of cultural change, is a valuable practical tool for rhetorical critics, and it is particularly useful for critical/cultural analysts interested in the seemingly superficial and trivial elements of popular culture. In addition to its functional utility, memetics issues a productive theoretical challenge to that trajectory of communication scholarship that seeks to further the materialist rhetorical project by developing and deploying the ideograph, the only significant methodological tool developed for the purposes of materialist criticism. Through a contrast between the "geographical" meme and the "historical" ideograph, I explore the utility of the meme as a productive concept for the analysis of contemporary culture.

Keywords: Cultural Evolution; Geographical Criticism; Ideograph; Materialist Rhetoric; Meme

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14791420601138286

Publication date: 2007-03-01

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