© 2018

Exploring the Selfie

Historical, Theoretical, and Analytical Approaches to Digital Self-Photography

  • Julia Eckel
  • Jens Ruchatz
  • Sabine Wirth
  • The first comprehensive volume on the current and publicly debated topic of selfies

  • Offers approaches from a broader field of disciplines

  • Provides a theoretical as well as a media-historical basis for investigating the selfie as an image practice

Palgrave Macmillan

Table of contents

  1. Displaying the Self: Social, Political, and Creative Interventions

  2. Back Matter
    Pages 379-392

About this book


This volume explores the selfie not only as a specific photographic practice that is deeply rooted in digital culture, but also how it is understood in relation to other media of self-portrayal. Unlike the public debate about the dangers of 'selfie-narcissism', this anthology discusses what the practice of taking and sharing selfies can tell us about media culture today: can the selfie be critiqued as an image or rather as a social practice? What are the technological conditions of this form of vernacular photography? By gathering articles from the fields of media studies; art history; cultural studies; visual studies; philosophy; sociology and ethnography, this book provides a media archaeological perspective that highlights the relevance of the selfie as a stereotypical as well as creative practice of dealing with ourselves in relation to technology.


Digital media Twentieth century Digital photography Social network Self-portraiture Web culture

Editors and affiliations

  • Julia Eckel
    • 1
  • Jens Ruchatz
    • 2
  • Sabine Wirth
    • 3
  1. 1.Philipps-University MarburgMarburgGermany
  2. 2.Philipps-University MarburgMarburgGermany
  3. 3.Philipps-University MarburgMarburgGermany

About the editors

Julia Eckel is Research and Teaching Associate at the Institute of Media Studies at Philipps-University Marburg, Germany. 

Jens Ruchatz is Professor of audiovisual transfer processes at the Institute of Media Studies at Philipps-University Marburg, Germany. 

Sabine Wirth is Research and Teaching Associate at the Institute of Media Studies at Philipps-University Marburg, Germany.

Bibliographic information


“This is a highly nuanced and balanced offering of high quality scholarship on "selfie" theory and history, the selfie as an aesthetic object and networked image, its technology and dispositif, and its socio-political and creative interventions.” (Athina Karatzogianni, University of Leicester, UK)

“Exploring the Selfie” provides a substantial, multifaceted, interdisciplinary perspective on digital self-photography. The selfie is a photographic and cultural phenomenon in an age where the practices of photography are affected strongly by mobile and online communication and many of the popular social media platforms are based on visual communication. The volume assembles a wonderfully rich and many-sided “image” of the selfie as part of contemporary visual culture – that also has a history.” (Mikko Villi, University of Jyväskylä, Finland)