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Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology


This paper outlines a multidisciplinary framework (Digital Rhetorical Ecosystem or DRE3) for scaling up qualitative analyses of image memes. First, we make a case for applying rhetorical theory to examine image memes as quasi-arguments that promote claims on a variety of political and social issues. Next, we argue for integrating rhetorical analysis of image memes into an ecological framework to trace interaction and evolution of memetic claims as they coalesce into evidence ecosystems that inform public narratives. Finally, we apply a computational framework to address the particular problem of claim identification in memes at large scales. Our integrated framework answers the recent call in information studies to highlight the social, political, and cultural attributes of information phenomena, and bridges the divide between small-scale qualitative analyses and large-scale computational analyses of image memes. We present this theoretical framework to guide the development of research questions, processes, and computational architecture to study the widespread and powerful influence of image memes in shaping consequential public beliefs and sentiments.


Published in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Association for Information Science and Technology. Available via doi: 10.1002/asi.24900.

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