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‘Selfies aren’t simply a record of our lives and behavior – they’re changing them’. Anna Hart, ‘Generation Selfie’.

Course: Media and Communication BA Hons
Module: Issues in Contemporary Media and Culture (Selfing)
Module details: n this strand of Issues in Contemporary Media we look at the media debates that have arisen in
reaction to the phenomenon of the ‘selfie’. We will look at the social function of the selfie, and consider critical
suggestions that the selfie is a symptom of a ‘narcissistic’ or self-obsessed culture. What relation does the selfie
have to our ‘authentic’ self? How far is the selfie a form of self-creation? We will consider what if any relation
the selfie has to the history of self-portraiture; but we will also ask whether the posting of selfies should not be
seen as an exchange of cultural objects, so much as a new mode of visual communication that is essentially
ephemeral and functions like speech and conversation. In general, we will look at the selfie as emblematic of a
culture in which the ‘self’ or the ‘individual’ has been placed at the centre of social and economic rationality,
social control, and self-realization.
Topic of the essay: ‘Selfies aren’t simply a record of our lives and behavior – they’re changing them’. Anna
Hart, ‘Generation Selfie’.
Discuss the role of the ‘selfie’ in contemporary culture and society and the contention that they are changing the
way people live and behave.
Word count: 2700-3100 words

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