Internet memes play an important role in the reproduction, reinforcement and cir-culation of social stereotypes, including those about people who live in poverty. In this paper we investigate the relationship between Internet memes and stereotypes about poverty by examining a set of memes that make claims about one particular aspect of poverty in high-income countries – receipt of social assistance in the form of welfare cheques, medical cov-erage and food. We apply critical discourse analysis to a set of widely circulated poverty memes to identify how notions of individual responsibility and deservedness surface in these messages. Whereas the memes in our sample consist of both visual and textual elements, we found that the text was decidedly more important for reproducing stereotypes linked to the abstract neoliberal values of individual responsibility and participation in market econo-my.

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Keywords Memes, Poverty, Social media, Social welfare, Stigmatization, Viral
Journal tripleC
Dobson, K. (Kathy), & Knezevic, I. (2017). ‘Liking and sharing’ the stigmatization of poverty and social welfare: Representations of poverty and welfare through internet memes on social media. tripleC, 15(2), 777–795.