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The subversive selfie: Redefining the mediated subject
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies, Fashion Studies. (Forskarskolan för kulturhistoriska studier)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4089-1517
2014 (English)In: Clothing Cultures, ISSN 2050-0742, E-ISSN 2050-0750, Vol. 2, no 1, 73-89 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article approaches the selfie debate through questioning the more simplistic view that the selfie is an effect of narcissism and consumption and instead argues that it can be a shared and transformative practice. Drawing from focus group discussions and using the critical thinking of Levinas, Foucault, Butler and Irigaray, I explore the face and the continuous formation of the subject by basing these arguments on the theoretical dismissal of the domination of a (western) autonomous subject-centred philosophy in favour of the Other, striving towards the expressions of the self as vulnerable, rather than self-absorbed. Furthermore, I discuss the selfie from a feminist viewpoint, where this type of media participation creates a potential space for an alternative female experience to emerge. I argue that the selfie opens up for an ability to mimic and play with social roles, pointing towards potential subversion through awareness and agency, rather than self-objectification. Thus, this article concludes with a recontextualization of the selfie as a sensory, communicative and political practice and experience.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 2, no 1, 73-89 p.
Keyword [en]
Internet, digital images, feminism, social media, technology, the face, the gaze, the self
National Category
Arts Media Studies
Research subject
Fashion Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-121748DOI: 10.1386/cc.2.1.73_1OAI: diva2:861111
Becoming Image: Perspectives on Digital Culture, Fashion and Technofeminism
Available from: 2015-10-15 Created: 2015-10-15 Last updated: 2015-10-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Becoming Image: Perspectives on Digital Culture, Fashion and Technofeminism
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Becoming Image: Perspectives on Digital Culture, Fashion and Technofeminism
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Departing from a technofeminist perspective, Becoming Image, places the digital image in a broader context of modern and postmodern technological discourses and fashion. In four articles, the compilation dissertation expands a contemporary and imagistic tech discourse by questioning the ideology of ”masculinity”―specifically the idea of it as a historically male domain. Through interviews, discourse analysis and feminist critique, as well as an interdisciplinary focus on digital media, the project investigates how everyday image practices open up for new embodied experiences. Focusing on women and social media, the articles examines the way material and immaterial aspects of images overlap in everyday life. Rather than artistic intention, emotions and basic human interaction often lie at heart of becoming image. Fashion is, however, highly present in this critical transformation. Not only as collaborative projects emerge out of combining new technologies and dress―such as using your smartphone to elevate your clothing―but also how fashion is a technology itself. Fashion highlights the body as medium, but fashion is also always (mostly) image. 

Previous research around the digital image and its meaning has often stressed the banality of everyday image practices as taking selfies. However, these debates represent deeper cultural values and norms, which the dissertation reaches beyond. As women, and also queer and trans-people increasingly innovate and interfere with normative technological usage, it becomes evident that such groups have been excluded from communities organized around technological power and skill. As with language, technology and digital imagery are not neutral media. Women have hence been excluded―and been forced to use instruments and apps seemingly made for strict masculine purposes. Arguably, image practices such as selfies or image micro-blogging encourage women to “write” themselves out of a world they have not constructed themselves. Thus, Becoming Image simultaneously illuminates the structural and fundamental levels of technology and gender―while also suggesting new methodological and theoretical ways of studying and approaching digital media.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Fashion Studies, Stockholm University, 2015. 71 p.
Stockholm Fashion Studies, 3
Technology, Selfie, Embodiment, Tumblr, Memory, Instagram, Posthumanism
National Category
Cultural Studies Media Studies
Research subject
Fashion Studies
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-121923 (URN)978-91-7649-287-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-12-05, föreläsningssalen, Filmhuset, Borgvägen 5, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Accepted.


Available from: 2015-11-12 Created: 2015-10-20 Last updated: 2015-11-13Bibliographically approved

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