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Virality and Morphogenesis of Right Wing Internet Populism

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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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Viral Information – The Shift of Meaning and Politics

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An Introduction to a Multi-Perspective Analysis of Internet Activities

Abstract: The article introduces the fundamental deliberations constituting the theoretical framework of the here presented analyses. Focusing primarily on right wing Internet populism, they offer a current object of research for observing the more or less viral spread of particular memes, myths or metaphorical concepts as well as their morphogenesis via their dissemination, their effects on reality perception and the orientation of social behavior. Combining socio-constructivist and semiotic paradigms, a holistic perspective is developed in order to understand the socio-semiotic effects of information spreading via social media. Understanding culture as an operating system which displays the basics of social construction of reality, the basic values and semantic categories for individual and collective behavior – and synthesizing the synopsis with the semiotic model of semiosphere – permits insight into the ongoing adjustments of the social perception of reality and the thereby changing benchmarks. Concentrating on the use of social media, this approach allows a deeper knowledge about the role of the individual semiosis and its manipulation via social media for the collective perception of socio-politic developments. Thus individual interpretations or faked individual interpretations of information can be analyzed as swivel pins for shifting semantic categories and memes, being the basis of common sense of a society. Accordingly, the virality of such information and interpretations has to be taken into serious consideration. For this purpose, the conceptualization of the virus and the meme metaphor is outlined as scientific and populist instruments...

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