This article analyzes the use of humor as a strategy for claims making and activist identity construction through visual production at face-to-face protests and Internet memes. Humorous visual images can serve multiple social movement purposes, including ridiculing and delegitimizing the opposition, neutralizing opponents’ claims, creating a fun and irreverent group identity, and fostering group cohesion through shared enjoyment. This article explores these issues through a content analysis of visual repertoires of contention in the mobilizations around the proposed legalization of abortion in Argentina in 2018, with a focus on the use of images of fetuses. This case is useful for theorizing the specific uses of humor as a social movement strategy, especially the role it plays in the relationship between two oppositional movements.
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ARTICLES| July 11 2022
FETAL ASPIRATIONS: THE HUMOROUS MEME AS A MOBILIZING TACTIC*
† Thank you to Gay Seidman, Myra Marx Ferree, and Katrina Kimport for their invaluable feedback on drafts of this article. I am grateful to Jess Newman, Seda Saluk, Elyse Singer, and Siri Suh for helpful comments on an early version, and also grateful for feedback received at the College of Charleston’s Aesthetics Work Group and the Mini-Conference on Reproduction at the Eastern Sociological Society. This work was completed with funding from the Dean’s Collaborative Interdisciplinary Summer Research Award for International Engagement of the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs at the College of Charleston, and with the help of Michael O’Brien and Lola Colomina- Garrigós who shared in the work of securing that award. I appreciate the thoughtful and detailed feedback received from three anonymous reviewers and the editor.
* Direct correspondence to Julia McReynolds-Pérez, Associate Professor of Sociology, College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, email@example.com.
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Mobilization: An International Quarterly (2022) 27 (2): 193–210.
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Julia McReynolds-Pérez; FETAL ASPIRATIONS: THE HUMOROUS MEME AS A MOBILIZING TACTIC. Mobilization: An International Quarterly 1 June 2022; 27 (2): 193–210. doi: https://doi.org/10.17813/1086-671X-27-2-193
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