The Social Movement as Meme

October 25, 2011

In an article for Open Democracy, Aaron Peters writes about how new social media is transforming the nature of protest and dissent in the 21st century. After explaining the concept of a Meme (a unit for transmitting ‘social behaviour, ideas, practices and mannerisms’), Peters looks at how new technology is speeding up the spread of ideas, tactics and strategies for the global movement via Memes:

With the #oct15 and #occupy movements, the tactics of square occupations have been memetically reproduced, as have a particular identity and antagonism.

While all groups are heterogeneous, there are clear genealogies of practice and symbol that can be extricated from Tahrir to the 15m movement in Spain to Occupy Wall Street and finally the #oct15 movement. Likewise we have seen certain memes in student movements across the globe.

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