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Virality and Morphogenesis of Right Wing Internet Populism


Eva Kimminich and Julius Erdmann

Information and its individual interpretations are highly discussed in social media. Their use and misuse is an important subject for cultural and media studies. The theoretical framework of this volume is based on a synopsis of socio-constructivist and semiotic paradigms, which permit insight into ongoing adjustments of the social perception of reality and the thereby changing benchmarks. The assembled micro-studies concentrate primarily on right-wing Internet populism in Germany, France and Italy and allow a more precise idea of the effects the disseminated myths, metaphors and memes can have: Becoming viral, they can have an influence on a society’s semiosphere, i.e.on common sense and social life.

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The collected articles of this volume are the result of three workshops we organized at the universities of Potsdam and Turin: (1) Morphogenesis and Virality of Right Wing Body of Thought in Germany, Italy and France, (2) The Virality of Extreme Images and (3) Public Interpretation – Sharing Meaning in the Era of Extreme Virality. They were financed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR), to whom we are much obliged. The authors analyze the microcosms of particular information, memes, codes or cognitive concepts in order to understand their potential of contagion, their function, their mutation during the process of dissemination, sharing and appropriation and what their impact on society and common sense could be. These reflections and analytic snapshots of dissemination and appropriation processes of information and interpretation provide an insight into the collective dynamics of the cognitive and emotional perception of social realities which form the basis of social coexistence. Furthermore, the standing of the individual being becomes visible, which is a more or less active part of these dynamics of reality construction.

We would like to thank Massimo Leone for his cooperation during the whole project as well as for our numerous meetings, the participating Italian researchers and all the master’s students for daring to do research in a domain that is known for rather unpleasant subjects.

Special thanks go out to my team, Anna Finzel, Mareen Belloff and Saman Hamdi for...

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