'Making Memes and Shitposting': The Powerful Political Discourse of Alt-Right Meme Culture

14 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2022

See all articles by Beth Daviess

Beth Daviess

University of Chicago - Law School

Date Written: June 5, 2019


The term "alt-right" entered mainstream discourse for first time during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It describes a loosely connected and ill-defined “collection of internet-based radicals,” who share some beliefs, including white supremacy, ethno-nationalism, and anti-feminism. Described as “an outgrowth of internet troll culture,” the online alt-right is large and diverse in membership, ideology, and interests. But these communities do have one thing in common: they make memes prolifically. The distinct meme culture of these online forums shapes the alt-right discourse. Simply put, meme culture occurs when users disseminate cultural content that other users consume and reproduce to create new, mutated content. Alt-right communities depend on this structure, and unique cultural norms developed around this process, to engage in their discourse. This paper examines the alt-right’s distinct meme culture to better understand the alt-right’s attractiveness to its primarily young male followers and its strengths as a political force.

Keywords: Alt-right, 4chan, 8chan, 8kun, meme, memes, internet culture, internet, reddit

Suggested Citation

Daviess, Beth, 'Making Memes and Shitposting': The Powerful Political Discourse of Alt-Right Meme Culture (June 5, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4118990 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4118990

Beth Daviess (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

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