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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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From Terror Contagion to the Virality of Love

From Terror Contagion to the Virality of Love

(p.127) 4 From Terror Contagion to the Virality of Love

Tony D. Sampson

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter explains how virality might be directed through the accidentality of Gabriel Tarde’s epidemiological social space. It identifies and analyzes the pretexts that emphasize two communication stratagems: immunologic and viral love. The first stratagem, immunologic, combines discursive practices and pre-discursive registers to spread fear concerning the threat posed by digital contagion and the “cultural plagues” of Islamic terror, while the second stratagem, grasped through the concept of viral love, intervenes in the assumption that populations are controlled by fear alone. For Tarde, despite frequent epidemics of panic and terror, it is contagions of hope, faith, and, love that are far more catching.

Keywords:   virality, Gabriel Tarde, epidemiological social space, immunologic, viral love, digital contagion, Islamic terror, pre-discursive registers

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