You are here:

Recontextualizing YouTube: From Macro-Micro to Mass-Mediated Communicative Repertoires

Anthropology & Education Quarterly Volume 43, Number 2, ISSN 0161-7761


In this article, I deconstruct the macro-micro dichotomy by arguing that the very same mass-media messages that appear culturally homogenizing (like catchy tunes and phrases) also invite creative recontextualizations (Bauman and Briggs 1990). Moreover, "the more widely circulated and mass-produced a message is, the more highly diverse the interactions with it will be." This is because these widely circulating forms become incorporated into individuals' "communicative repertoires" (Rymes 2010), to be deployed in indeterminate variation. I illustrate this point by first looking at the meteoric rise of the pop artist "Soulja Boy" and his hit, "Crank Dat." Following the illustration of the circulation and recontextualization of Soulja Boy's hit, I apply this method of analysis to a less seemingly trivial mass-mediated movement--Obama's first presidential campaign. By tracing the pathway of semiotic forms as recontextualized and circulated via YouTube, I demonstrate an empirical approach for studying how widely circulating cultural emblems become incorporated into individual-level communicative repertoires. This approach is important to scholars of Anthropology and Education because, unlike micro-macro approaches, which often rely on a priori demographic or interactional categories for analysis, a repertoire approach provides a nonessentializing way of investigating difference in and out of classrooms.


Rymes, B. (2012). Recontextualizing YouTube: From Macro-Micro to Mass-Mediated Communicative Repertoires. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 43(2), 214-227. Retrieved January 27, 2023 from .

This record was imported from ERIC on April 18, 2013. [Original Record]

ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright for this record is held by the content creator. For more details see ERIC's copyright policy.