Memes and Research World

In the new issue of Research World, you can read our article on how memes evolve and spread amongst teenagers and how understanding memes is key to the success of youth brands. Annelies Verhaeghe, ForwaR&D Lab consultant, together with 2 of our managing partners, Joeri Van den Bergh and Niels Schillewaert are the authors.
Richard Dawkins first introduced the word ‘meme’ to discuss evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. A meme is a postulated unit or element of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, that gets transmitted from one mind to another through speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena.
In this project, we studied identity constructions and subcultures among Belgian and Dutch youngsters using memetics and mass ethnography, which employs innovative methods that combine principles from visual ethnography, nethnography and qualitative research with ethnographical elements. Our research revealed 11 subcultures and memes: fashion boys/girls, players/breezersluts, conservative yet party-oriented gabbers, nerds, gothics, emos, hippies, punks, altos, skaters and rappers.
Find out more about the results of the study, how memes spread and how marketers can use memes in branding and communicating with kids by reading the full article.
Download the full article:
researchworld04memesarticle part1
researchworld04memesarticle part2
For more information on this topic, contact Niels Schillewaert (

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