The 15-M memeplex
Type of work: Licentiate Thesis
Categories:Politics and Political Science
Tags:15m, technopolitics, memes
This thesis examines Spain’s “15-M” protests and four citizen-led “follow-on groups” that have emerged since 15-M’s inception in 2011. These campaigns for social and political change resist tough austerity measures with protests that exhibit inventive textual, spatial, and visual communication practices. These practices can be explored by focusing on the extent to which 15- M’s “memeplex,” or ensemble of protest memes, has been replicated by the four follow-on groups. Application of conceptual tools drawn from argumentation, rhetoric, memetics, and semiotics supports study of each group’s communication strategies and practices. Artifacts for analysis include photographs, content from social media websites, interviews, news analyses, and blog entries. The thesis contributes to scholarly discussions of civic activism in Spain since 2011, intervenes into theoretical conversations regarding the rhetoric of social movements, and offers generalizable insights with regard to twenty-first century protest activity that may be useful for understanding other national contexts where citizens have rallied to inspire change using “occupy” tactics (e.g., the United States, Greece, Ukraine, and Brazil).