Memetic methodology

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Sun 24 Nov 2002 - 05:13:02 GMT

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    A quick thought on memetic methodology.

    If one views a meme as having an essential linguistic construct, and that the expression of the meme is half the act of transmission, and adoption by another person is the second half, then indeed it would seem that we have a measurable phenomenon, and one that we can use to determine the effectiveness of a meme (its transmission), and its performance when it comes up against countervailing memes.

    Using this approach, I have been able to track and map the dissemination of a couple of memes through a society, and also track the mutations that occur to the meme as it is disseminated.

    There is a formal research project underway in memetics, by one of our list members. Memes are being tracked in a locality, with a control group, and measures made of the behavioral impacts of the meme. I think the results may be reported in approximately a year. Preliminary reports look promising.

    Best regards to all, Lawry

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: []On Behalf
    > Of Douglas Brooker

    > > > I thought for a while that deconstruction had something to
    > offer for the
    > > analysis of memes, but now I'm not so sure. Looking at all the ways
    > > >in which a meme is being used and all the antecedants it
    > carries with it
    > > >seemed promising for a while, but now I can't see where it
    > will lead to any
    > > >concrete results. Each person uses the meme he/she picked up
    > in his own way
    > > >and in conjunction with his/her own baggage of associated
    > ideas. The usage
    > > >is different for each person each time it is used. I can't
    > see what's in
    > > >anyone's head to make comparisons with the memes they are
    > using. We can
    > > >only compare the use of a meme with the memepool at large
    > because it's out
    > > >in the open. That's what deconstruction was about.
    > >
    > > That is right and that is why the search for quantifiable data is
    > > problematic, IMO in memetics.
    > it's not a serious problem in linguistics, so why should in be in
    > memetics? you just need a sound data collection methodology that is
    > memetics specific. what seems to be a problem, based on my rather small
    > knowledge of memetics, is creating a meme-specific theory that is
    > amenable to 'field' work that facilitates the creating of hypotheses and
    > testing them against observable data. talking about the 'religion' meme
    > or the 'terrorist' meme in very general terms, often just a disguised
    > political discourse, verges on the inane after awhile, unless it is the
    > object of your study.

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