Myths in visual environmental activism narratives on Instagram

Ardèvol, Elisenda and Martorell, Sandra and San-Cornelio, Gemma Myths in visual environmental activism narratives on Instagram. Comunicar, 2021, vol. 29, n. 68, pp. 59-70. [Journal article (Paginated)]

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English abstract

Images are part of the communication strategies of both the hegemonic powers and political activism. Images have recently been the focus of studies on social movements, highlighting the importance of visual activism in social media. However, the relationship between these visual narratives and mythological structures and how they operate to mobilize social change has not been significantly explored. This study analyses the role of environmental activism memes on social media and how, in anthropological terms, they can be understood as myths or narratives that offer a model for perceiving, understanding, judging and acting in the world. We draw from ongoing research into eco-influencers on Instagram, taking environmental memes characterized by binary oppositions of “before” and “after” as the study subject. This contrast establishes a temporal narrative and future prediction, involving a cause-and-effect relationship and a moral judgement of our actions. We argue that, in the case of the environmental meme, the myth-based approach helps in understanding its role in articulating the cosmic, social and personal orders as it brings human action into harmony with the cosmic order while projecting its images onto the human experience.

Spanish abstract

Las imágenes forman parte de las estrategias y prácticas comunicativas de los poderes hegemónicos y del activismo político. Recientemente se ha incorporado la imagen al estudio de los movimientos sociales, destacando la importancia del activismo visual en las redes sociales y sus nuevas formas narrativas. Sin embargo, se ha explorado con menor profundidad la relación entre estas narrativas visuales y las estructuras mitológicas y cómo operan para movilizar al cambio social. En este artículo analizaremos el papel de las imágenes meméticas en el activismo medioambiental en las redes sociales y cómo podemos entenderlas desde una perspectiva antropológica como mitos o narraciones que proponen un modelo para percibir, comprender, juzgar y actuar en el mundo. Nos basaremos en una investigación en curso sobre los «eco-influencers» en Instagram, tomando como objeto de análisis memes medioambientales caracterizados por plantear oposiciones binarias entre un «antes» y un «después». Este contraste establece una narrativa temporal y una proyección de futuro, que conlleva una relación de causa y efecto y una valoración moral de nuestra acción en el mundo. Argumentaremos que, en el caso del meme medioambiental, la aproximación desde el mito nos ayuda a comprender su agencia en la articulación del orden cósmico, social y personal en cuanto armoniza las acciones humanas con un orden cósmico a la vez que proyecta imágenes del orden cósmico al plano de la experiencia humana.

Item type: Journal article (Paginated)
Keywords: Myths; memes; activism; sustainability; Instagram; influencers; Mitos; activismo; sostenibilidad; Instagram; influencers
Subjects: B. Information use and sociology of information > BJ. Communication
G. Industry, profession and education.
G. Industry, profession and education. > GH. Education.
Depositing user: Alex Ruiz
Date deposited: 21 Dec 2021 06:57
Last modified: 21 Dec 2021 06:57


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