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Chronotopic representations as an effect of individuation: The case of the European migrant crisis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 November 2019

Ondřej Procházka*
University of Ostrava, Czech Republic
Address for correspondence: Ondřej Procházka Department of English and American Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Ostrava, Realni 5, 701 03 Ostrava, Czech


This article discusses internet memes in their capacity to prompt affective responses on social media in the aftermath of the migrant crisis. The focus is on Facebook pages devoted to geopolitical satire meme-comics known as countryballs and their uptake with regard to the proposed migrant relocation mechanisms. Engagement with internet memes reveals a multilayered complexity behind what is often simplistically portrayed as pro- or anti-migrant sentiment. In order to account for this complexity, the paper combines Gilbert Simondon's theory of individuation with Mikhail Bakhtin's notion of the chronotope currently developed in interactional sociolinguistics along the lines of symbolic interactionism. Finally, this article shows that memes are not a mere product of participatory culture, but rather a powerful instigator of technosocial and often heteroglossic practices that co-organize social life in the new polycentric collectivities appearing on social media. (Chronotope, individuation, internet memes, countryballs, Facebook, identity)*

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019

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The research was supported by the research mobility scholarship provided by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Ostrava. I am also thankful to Jan Blommaert, Piia Varis, Ad Backus, and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments that greatly improved the quality of the article.



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