Innovative Insights: WVPU Professor’s Research Shaping Strategic Communication

professor bradley wigginsIn the ever-evolving landscape of strategic communication, Webster Vienna Private University (WVPU) Professor Bradley Wiggins keeps his finger on the pulse.

Wiggins is the department head of the Strategic Communication (STRATCOMM) Department. He has taught courses in topics such as public speaking, public relations and digital culture. In past years he also teaches the popular course called “Remix Culture, Internet Memes and Viral Media.”

Wiggins recently presented remotely to the American Folklore Society’s annual meeting. The topic, “Crimea River to the Headaches Meme,” examined the uses of humor within the context of the war in Ukraine. He discusses, among other research, the observation that he calls “directionality,” defined as how audiences rely on memes to talk about two different ideological stances.

Last month, his research, entitled “The Meme’s-Eye View of Strategic Communication: A Case Study of Social Movements from a Memetic Perspective,” was published in the International Journal of Strategic Communication. 

“We looked at two cases: the Monday demonstrations that began in former East Germany, but later took hold during unrelated political crises, with its core meme ‘Wir sind das Volk’ or ‘We are the people,’” Wiggins said.

“We also explored the ‘Satanic Panic’ in the United States in the 1980s, and the non-conspiracy theory movement, and its core meme ‘Save the children.’ Our analysis clearly shows how regardless of political ideology, core ideas like the two memes above, stand the test of time and can be repurposed in vastly different social and political contexts,” he added.

The journal article was co-authored with a professor from WU Wien and a professor at Lund University in Sweden.

A degree from the Webster Vienna STRATCOMM department provides students with skills and knowledge needed for leadership positions in advertising, public relations, promotions, campaigns, corporate communication and other industries.

“The strategic communications department offers a great program, with so many opportunities to grow and learn. Professor Wiggins’ courses embody those qualities. He leaves room for discussion and questions from anyone,” said STRATCOMM student Tori Walton.

This program combines knowledge management, public relations, problem-solving, negotiation, leadership, persuasion, media literacy, communication theory, corporate and crisis communication, promotions and communication campaigns that graduates can apply in the workforce.

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