Bosnian and American political memes and cartoons depicting hurricane Irma

Sabina Skenderovic


The paper analyses political Internet memes and a cartoon that employ devastating hurrican Irma, as an input space, through the prism of Conceptual Integration Theory. The memes and cartoon relate to current political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United States of America. For the purpose of comprehension of the humorous conceptual blends present in the memes/cartoons, the principles of Theory of Conceptual Integration and the main theories of humour are used as theoretical framework. In each blend, the input space of the hurricane Irma provides elements that can be put in relation with elements from the input spaces that trigger frames of politics and controversial political figures. Due to incongruity and through the backprojections the audience re-establishes, enriches and/or reinforces the background knowledge of one of the input spaces, i.e. input spaces of political situation in the USA and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Regardless of the country in which a meme/ cartoon was created, Bosnia and Herzegovina or the USA, there are similar cross-space mappings and each blend contains emergent structure in which a political figure is perceived as more destructive than the hurricane
itself. Moreover, there is often a word play that influences the creation of the emergent structure in the blend and leads to powerful memes and cartoons which illustrate political situations in these countries. Despite being amusing, these particular memes and cartoon are good examples of how outwardly naïve, ludicrous creations carry deep symbolic meaning as they illustrate serious issues.


conceptual integration; memes; cartoons; hurricane

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