Bleached Emotions: A Post-emotional Analysis on Meme Culture in The 2016 Anti-Taiwan Independence Meme Fight
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In 2016, a massive Anti-Taiwan Independence Meme Fight(the Meme Fight) burst between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, resulting in a tension that still exists today. At the then-moment, over 4000 mainland netizens gathered together voluntarily online and used memes to flood more than 10 pro-Taiwan independence Facebook pages in order to protest for their Anti-Taiwan Independence political value. This thesis combined the perspectives of post-emotionalism, the phatic new media, and studies on meme culture and online civic participation as a theoretical framework to understand the 2016 Anti-Taiwan Independence Meme Fight. To understand the Meme Fight is attached with the essence of understanding it as a practice of online civic participation at a larger scale of China-Taiwan geopolitical context. Within such a context, the author suggests that Internet memes expressed not only the political values but also many underlying emotions during the Meme Fight, while the collision of emotions led to the segementing and polarization of social groups who held different standpoints on whether Taiwan is or should be independent. Moreover, as expressions of emotions, the memes also bleahed the emotions by removing them from the expressions. Eventually, the emotions are actually absent in the Meme Fight.