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ViralityContagion Theory in the Age of Networks$
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Tony D. Sampson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816670048

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816670048.001.0001

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What Spreads? From Memes and Crowds to the Phantom Events of Desire and Belief

What Spreads? From Memes and Crowds to the Phantom Events of Desire and Belief

Chapter:
(p.61) 2 What Spreads? From Memes and Crowds to the Phantom Events of Desire and Belief
Source:
Virality
Author(s):

Tony D. Sampson

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816670048.003.0003

This chapter explains the two logics of resemblance and repetition that are attributed to the premise “what spreads through a social network.” The first logic implies that cultural contagion is assumed to correspond to a distinctive biologically determined unit of imitation, while the second logic emphasizes that “what spreads on a network” occur in a representational space of collective contamination in which individual persons who become part of a crowd tend to think the same mental images. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the “meme”, as a “buzzword” of the internet age, and the connection of the crowd theories introduced by Gustave Le Bon to Sigmund Freud’s group psychology.

Keywords:   cultural contagion, collective contamination, meme, buzzword, internet age, crowd theories, Gustave Le Bon, Sigmund Freud, group psychology

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