Internet Memes as “Tactical” Social Action: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis Approach

Mohamed Ben Moussa, Sanaa Benmessaoud, Aziz Douai


This article investigates the deployment of Internet memes in a 2018 boycott campaign that targeted three major corporate brands tightly associated with the dominant sphere of power in Morocco. Using multimodal critical discourse analysis, the study analyzes discursive choices made in the production of memes circulated during the boycott, and the intersections between satirical humor and online participatory culture. We argue that these memes are “tactics” resorted to by the subaltern in their struggle for social justice. Although these tactics lack a “proper” locus where they can keep their “wins,” they allow the weak to carve out a space from where to effectively challenge the dominant power structures. The article contributes to the still limited body of research exploring Internet memes as multimodal political discourse and to the study of humor as a fundamental discursive aspect of Internet memes.


Internet memes, multimodal critical discourse analysis, humor, everyday life, Morocco

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