Messy on the inside: internet memes as mapping tools of everyday life

Sulafa Zidani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This paper presents the first systematic analysis of memes created by Palestinians in Israel. An analysis of 150 memes reveals how memes are used to reflect on and intervene in Palestinian youths’ navigation of life in mixed cities under prolonged war and colonialism. I analyze these memes at three different levels: global popular culture and politics, in relation to the Israeli State, and Palestinian in-group dynamics. The analysis reveals a divide between Palestinians and Israelis despite living in mixed cities, putting the myth of coexistence in such cities into question. Memes appear to function both in navigating the contested cultural and spatial politics and carving out space in the cultural landscape for youths’ aspirations. I propose a framework that conceptualizes Internet memes as mapping tools of everyday life. I argue that memes map out the social, cultural, and political landscape in which meme makers live and operate, and further reveals the intricate ties between new media technology and the political, cultural, and spatial arenas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2378-2402
Number of pages25
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2021


  • Digital culture
  • Israel
  • mapping tool
  • memes
  • Palestine
  • politics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences


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