#gradschoolproblems: Understanding Communicative Aspects of Memes on PhD Students’ Shared Experiences


This paper primarily discusses the challenges faced by PhD students as they face limited communication space for expressing and sharing their issues within the higher education system. The rigorous demands of PhD programs, coupled with external stressors, contribute to mental health issues and feelings of isolation. Memes have emerged as a significant mode of discourse in contemporary digital culture, providing insights into the unique struggles of PhD students through the niche of PhD memes. The study particularly focuses on the 'PhD meme page,' an Instagram page created to infuse humor into the PhD experience. This page fosters a sense of shared identity among followers, creating a community that collectively navigates and finds amusement in common challenges they face every day. Through an analysis of 200 meme posts and interviews with followers, the paper aims to decode the intertextuality of these humorous expressions, linking them to the lived experiences of PhD students. The research sheds light on how the social media discourse, facilitated by these memes, brings visibility to certain aspects of their daily struggles and emphasizes the relatability shared among individuals undergoing the demanding journey of a PhD program. This study also identifies that this discourse of relatable humor does not include issues related to gender, caste, and disability.

Author Information
Debopriya Roy, Tezpur University, India

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2023
Stream: Social Media and Communication Technology

This paper is part of the MediAsia2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Roy D. (2023) #gradschoolproblems: Understanding Communicative Aspects of Memes on PhD Students’ Shared Experiences ISSN: 2186-5906 – The Asian Conference on Media, Communication & Film 2023: Official Conference Proceedings https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2186-5906.2023.7
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2186-5906.2023.7

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