Year of Publication


Competition Category

Social Sciences


Arts and Sciences




Collegiate speech and debate participants are committed to performance excellence and organizational unity. Pi Kappa Delta, a central organization for this subculture, annually hosts a national competition, during which competitors can create and post memes via the tournament phone app. While it is well-known that memes are a function of participatory culture, no analysis has yet examined memes exclusively consumed by the same subculture which created them. In this study, we examine the implicit messaging of this memetic imagery, and by doing so, gain insight into both the collegiate forensics subculture, and the function of memes in a small group.


Veronica Scott won the first place in the Social Sciences category.

Veronica Scott is an undergraduate student in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology at the University of Kentucky. Timothy Bill is a PhD student in the College of Communication and Information at the University of Kentucky.

This paper was previously presented at the 2017 annual conference of the Kentucky Communication Association in Carrollton, KY.

A peer-reviewed version of this paper is published in The Forensic of Pi Kappa Delta, 103, (Winter 2018): 33-51.