Interfacing the Self: Smartphone Snaps and the Temporality of the Selfie

  • Sabine Wirth


Selfies have been extensively discussed as a mode of self-representation or self-exposure but little has been written about the dispositif of media usage within which selfie practices take place. This chapter therefore stresses the crucial role of the smartphone by shifting the attention to the surfaces that are used to generate selfies. Rather than considering selfies as single images, the chapter describes them as photographic interface practices and examines them as specific relations between user and technological device. The chapter highlights how the process of taking a selfie is entangled in the dispositif of smartphone user interfaces, how default settings and norms of interaction are shaping this process, and how specific types of temporality like seriality and liveness evolve from this embeddedness. Contextualizing selfie practices within the convergence of mobile photography and the history of personal computing opens up a possibility to shed new light on the question of agency in the “selfie act,” which is often reduced to the photographing subject within the debate about selfies.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabine Wirth
    • 1
  1. 1.Philipps-University MarburgMarburgGermany

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