February 12, 2012
"The meme, in The Selfish Gene, was a thought experiment: a rhetorical device intended to illuminate Dawkins’ argument that the replicator ought to replace the gene in the scientific understanding of what it is that drives evolutionary change. Yet its re-presentation in 1981, in a popular collection of essays and short stories, stripped it of its oratorical context. This began the process of reifying the meme as the actual cultural counterpart of the gene."

http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/POSC_a_00057