The Selfie as Image (and) Practice: Approaching Digital Self-Photography

  • Julia Eckel
  • Jens Ruchatz
  • Sabine Wirth


Despite the prevalence of the word “selfie” and the ubiquitous presence of selfie pictures in digital media, it is difficult to pinpoint what a selfie actually is and what the practice of taking and sharing selfies tells us about today’s media use and media culture. This chapter therefore does not try to give a stable definition of what a selfie is or should be but traces the different approaches and stances toward digital self-photography that have been developed and discussed in academic and public discourse since the turn of the millennium. The authors conclude that selfie research is shaped by two sometimes conflicting but often complementary approaches of focusing on the selfie as an image (i.e., the technological and aesthetic dimensions of the selfie) and focusing on the practices selfies emanate from (i.e., the communicative and social dimensions of the selfie). Thus, the chapter introduces the aim of the whole volume, which is to provide a theoretical as well as a media-historical framework for investigating the selfie as an image practice—understood literally as image and practice at the same time—and to develop a more specific theoretical and analytic terminology.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

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