This issue of M/C Journal is devoted to all things cute – Internet animals and stuffed toys, cartoon characters and branded bears. In what follows our nine contributors scrutinise a diverse range of media objects, discussing everything from the economics of Grumpy Cat and the aesthetics of Furbys to Reddit’s intellectual property dramas and the ethics of kitten memes.
The articles range across diverse sites, from China to Canada, and equally diverse disciplines, including cultural studies, evolutionary economics, media anthropology, film studies and socio-legal studies. But they share a common aim of tracing out the connections between degraded media forms and wider questions of culture, identity, economy and power. Our contributors tell riveting stories about these connections, inviting us to see the most familiar visual culture in a new way.