Issues of Globalization and Localization in Youth  Culture: The Case of Memes

Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Future of Social Sciences

Year: 2019


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Issues of Globalization and Localization in Youth  Culture: The Case of Memes

Michela Canepari



The present article aims at studying the phenomenon of memes as a communicative, social and cultural product, in the attempt to identify the level of globalisation vis à vis localisation of the cultures and the societies that produce them. To this end, the article presents some memes from both the United Kingdom and Italy, which were collected in a rather large corpus, and briefly analyses them from a linguistic and visual perspective. For reasons of space, the quantitative analysis of the corpus will not be discussed at length here, even though the results of the study will be indicated briefly. However, the qualitative analysis of some of the memes will prove that a large part of the existing material – while adopting various features of globalisation – often exploits, from a linguistic point of view, regional variants of the language adopted. Thus, since language is the expression of specific cultures, the analysis demonstrates how, despite globalisation, local (and localised) features of communities and cultures keep existing in their uniqueness. Hence, since memes are, as indicated in the title of this paper, a privileged form of communication among younger members of society, the results point to a generation of youth that, despite the tendency to follow global models, is well aware of the traditional and local cultures they stem from and strive to keep them alive. On the basis of this analysis, the article finally argues that memes – like many other products of popular culture – represent a privileged arena which, if studied systematically through the tools of discourse analysis and sociolinguistics, could reveal important aspects of the societies that produce them and their evolution.

Keywords: culture; dialects; food; tradition; visual design.