Title

Memetic Communication and the Cult of Kek

Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 4-9-2018

First Advisor

Dr. Jamie Skerski

Abstract

The 2016 U.S. presidential election season gave rise to new ways of using communication to mobilize political ideology. This paper analyzes the Cult of Kek, a loosely organized online group, through Stuart Hall’s Circuit of Culture. The identity, production, consumption, regulation, and significance of the Cult of Kek is the focal point of study. This research suggests that memetic practices have wide-reaching social and political implications. Political communication has entered memetics via social media platforms and complicates international political discourse. Memes are used by The Cult of Kek and other online groups to subvert cultural hegemonies. These memes are deployed through channels like 4chan, Reddit, and other social media platforms. These memetic practices have involved trolling, doxing, and swatting as a means of persuasion, giving rise to bills for protecting United States citizens from such practices. This study navigates a new frontier of memetic communication that uses banter, mockery, and caricatures as a vehicle to spread their alternative-right ideologies.

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