Internet-mediated Islamist semiotics: policing memes and the R4BIA pizza effect

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Abstract

This article explores the semiotics and trans-local dynamics of the decision by a Mancunian pizzeria to brand itself using what is widely regarded as a characteristically Islamist internet meme (the so-called ‘R4bia Sign’). The article explores the genesis, genealogy, and development of a salient religio-political symbol as a means to interrogate specific models of cultural production and reproduction. It focuses in particular on the character of meme-making as a mode of political participation and as part of dissident groups’ repertoires of action. In the process, it problematizes contemporary state policy in relation to policing internet-centred discourse among minority and dissident groups. It is particularly critical of indiscriminate interventions which obscure dynamic, reciprocal, and contextual transformations of meaning associated with ostensibly fixed symbols.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2020