“Meme-Ing” Peace in Northern Ireland: Exploring the Everyday Politics of Internet Memes in Belfast Riots
How do Internet memes about political violence in postwar Belfast speak to or against the peacebuilding process in Northern Ireland? Our findings demonstrate three dominant ways in which memes engage with such violence: (a) poking fun at violence, (b) poking fun at rioters, and (c) normalizing violence. Memes poking fun at violence destabilize the banal nationalism underpinning the conflict in Northern Ireland, whereas memes poking fun at rioters position the sectarian (and/or socioeconomic) “other” as inferior. Memes that normalize violence do not necessarily entail a defeatist resignation to political violence—even if that might often be the case—as they also provide comic relief by constructing a shared identity in an otherwise divided city.