Inculturating into the Internet: Memes at the intersection of Catholic and Digital Cultures

Andre Joseph Theng


Inculturation has been of newfound relevance in the post-Vatican II era. I present a case study of how the use of Christian-related memes on both meme-specific social media pages and on social media accounts belonging to Catholic clergy can be understood as being located at the intersection between Catholic and digital cultures. Such social media posts represent attempts to adopt semiotic practices associated with digital cultures. I suggest how (dis)continuities associated with inculturation can be observed in my data and how an understanding of Catholic-related social media contributes to our understanding of the relationship between Christ and (popular, digital) culture (Niebuhr, 1951; Tanner, 2007).

Niebuhr, H. R. (1951). Christ and culture. London: Faber and Faber.
Tanner, K. F. P. (2007). Theories of culture : a new agenda for theology. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.


Andre Joseph Theng is a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh. His project considers Catholic discourses on social media broadly from a multimodal, social semiotic perpective. He previously completed his MPhil at the School of English, The University of Hong Kong. He is broadly interested in sociolinguistics online and offline, religious discourses, and critical dimensions to language in urban contexts.

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