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Authenticity and Ephemerality: The Memes of Transcultural Production in Italian Diasporic Culture

Mitzel, Anthony Dion; (2021) Authenticity and Ephemerality: The Memes of Transcultural Production in Italian Diasporic Culture. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Mitzel.A.D.2021.PHD Thesis_Authenticity and Ephemerality.The Memes of Transcultural Production in Italian Diasporic Culture.Final manuscript.pdf
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Abstract

This dissertation seeks to contribute a new model for the observation, interpretation, and analysis of Italian and American cultures utilising a semiotic-memetic grammar for analysing and interpreting culture as it transforms and disseminates through time and space. Semioticians, linguists, philosophers, historians, and cultural theorists have written on culture and its relation to language, ethnicity, and identity perception. However, the mechanism for the arrival to specific loci is often overlooked. For the purposes of this study, the cultural systems in question are diasporic Italian manifested in the form of the Italian Americans operating in the periphery (USA) and peninsular/insular Italians operating in the centre (Italy). This dissertation addresses the question of how meaning is constructed, maintained, and propagated in the periphery by diasporic peoples with general inferences on both Italian Diasporic culture in the United States, and specifically a cohort of Americans of Italian, mixed Italian descent that reside in Mahoning Valley in the state of Ohio, USA. I argue that using signs that arrived via memes i.e., non-biologically spread cultural data to the United States through migratory flows, American Italians have the ability to semiotically interpret Italian signs thereby maintaining an authentic and ephemeral connection to Italy while in the periphery. In the present study, signs found in the peripheries of Italy as centre that work in unison to create meaning or Memetic Codes Clusters have been identified and defined as interpretable and communicable cultural value systems. They are examples of multimodal structures operating as memes outside of an origination point connecting and maintaining perception to a core culture: cultures that have historically exerted influence due to hegemony, mass communication, and popular appeal. Multiple examples from a selection of targeted audiovisual and literary texts have been correlated with the aforementioned clusters serving as aesthetic markers. Preliminary findings suggest there are discernible semiotic attributes contained in both samples that illustrate the fecundity and hybridisation of Italian culture in the periphery. Keywords: culture, diaspora, Italian America, memes, semiotics

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Authenticity and Ephemerality: The Memes of Transcultural Production in Italian Diasporic Culture
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10133405
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