Towards a Sociology of Selfies
The Filtered Face
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This book examines selfies as a relational and processual networked social practice, performed between people within digital contexts and that involve online/offline intersections and tensions. It offers an analysis of selfies through a rich and interdisciplinary framework, that explores the ritualized and affective engagements selfies provoke from others.
Given that selfies by definition are shared and posted through networked platforms, they complicate notions of traditional photographic self-portraiture. As such, this book explores how selfies invoke broader, stratified patterns of looking that are occluded in discourses of "empowerment" and "visibility", as well as the subjectivities these networked practices work to produce.
Drawing on extensive qualitative research conducted over a period of three years, this book questions not only what selfies are but what they do, they worlds they create, the imaginaries that organize them, and the flows of desire, affect and normativity that underpin them, questions that can only be addressed through research that closely attends to the experience of selfie-takers. It will be of interest to those working in the fields of Sociology, Cultural studies, Communications, Visual Studies, Social Media studies, Feminist research and Affect Theory.
Table of Contents
Part I: Defining and Theorizing Selfie practice
2. Mechanics: Method and Analysis
3. This is Not a Like: Selfies as Social Practice
4. "Do I Look Like My Selfie?" Filters & the Digital-Forensic Gaze
Part II: Affect and Gender
5. Becoming Digital She-Objects: From the Double to…
6. Soft Boys, Chads, and Fuckboys: Performing Selfie Masculinities
7. As-if Happy: The "Forced Positive" and Post(ing)-fun
Part III: Digital Constraints and Contexts
8. "Saturatedly Perfect": Staring Down the Hegemonic Gaze
9. Hashtags and the Optics of Optimization
10. Algorithmic Sociality: It’s Not a Bug it’s a Feature
11. Conclusion: Selfies and the Ends of Photography
Maria-Carolina Cambre is an associate professor at Concordia University, Montreal CA and Chercheuse associée à IRCAV-Paris (2020-25). Cambre’s research addresses visual processes of legitimation, questions of representation, visual methodologies. Cambre is the author of: The Semiotics of Che Guevara: Affective gateways (2015/16), and co-editor of Mediated Interfaces: The Body on Social Media (with Katie Warfield and Crystal Abidin 2020) and the forthcoming Visual Pedagogies: Concepts, Cases & Practices (with Edna Barromi-Perlman, and David Herman Jr. 2022)
Christine Lavrence is Associate Professor of Sociology at King’s University College at Western University. Lavrence’s research explores questions related to digital media, visual sociology, memory and memorialization.