Lusha Sa


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Conducting Cross-Cultural Research on COVID-19 Memes
Jing Ge-Stadnyk | Lusha Sa
Proceedings of the Fifth International Workshop on Emoji Understanding and Applications in Social Media

A cross-linguistic study of COVID-19 memes should allow scholars and professionals to gain insight into how people engage in socially and politically important issues and how culture has influenced societal responses to the global pandemic. This preliminary study employs framing analysis to examine and compare issues, actors and stances conveyed by both English and Chinese memes. The overall findings point to divergence in the way individuals communicate pandemic-related issues in English-speaking countries versus China, although a few similarities were also identified. ‘Regulation’ is the most common issue addressed by both English and Chinese memes, though the latter does so at a comparatively higher rate. The ‘ordinary people’ image within these memes accounts for the largest percentage in both data sets. Although both Chinese and English memes primarily express negative emotions, the former often occurs on an interpersonal level, whereas the latter aims at criticizing society and certain group of people in general. Lastly, this study proposes explanations for these findings in terms of culture and political environment.