Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Memes, de Certeau and la perruque

I think that memes are a manifestation of popular culture as well as about popular culture which they remake and remix.

I love Flickr's Song Chart meme for example.

Memers are having a bit of fun with the pop culture around them as well as spoofing crummy business pitch PowerPoint presentations and their cheesy graphic representations of data.

Here's Meatloaf's 'I would do anything for love (but I won't do that)' (really cheesy song) as a very simple example:

Things I would do for love

I wonder of the memers are working at home or at work? I ask as this sort of meme makes me think of de Certeau's concept of 'la perruque' (the wig). 'La perruque' is the worker's own production performed at the workplace under the disguise of legitimate work for the boss. Nothing is stolen other than time. Here's de Certeau:
It differs from absenteeism in that the worker is officially on the job. 'La perruque' may be as simple a matter as a secretary's writing a love letter on 'company time' or as complex as a cabinetmaker's 'borrowing' a lathe to make a piece of furniture for his living room." (1984: 25)
In this tactic, employees divert time away from producing profit for his/her employer and instead uses it for his/her own enjoyment, for activities that are "free, creative, and precisely not directed toward profit" (de Certeau 1984: 25).

I wonder if it would be worth contacting memers - Flickr-based or not - to find out if this hunch can be substantiated?


De Certeau, M. (1984). The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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