To read this content please select one of the options below:

Spectacles of Self(ie) Empowerment? Networked Individualism and the Logic of the (Post)Feminist Selfie

Communication and Information Technologies Annual

ISBN: 978-1-78560-785-1, eISBN: 978-1-78560-784-4

Publication date: 23 February 2016



This paper examines the social and ideological significance of selfies as a manifestation of networked culture and individualism. The aim is to illustrate the meaning and affordances of selfies by investigating their potential for (post)feminist empowerment.


The analysis entails an exploration of the form, content, and context of (post)feminist selfies. This includes a review of popular expressions of selfie-empowerment as well as an in-depth ideological analysis of several revealing case studies.


As a result, this paper identifies a (dis)empowerment paradox marked by a divide between material and affective conceptions of empowerment. According to this paradox, self(ie)-expressions may feel empowering to the individual(s) controlling the camera while concurrently conforming to hegemonic norms – a trend which is particularly pertinent to many networked selfies shared via social media. Accordingly, the paper concludes by critiquing the discourse of selfie-empowerment and considering the significance of cultural context in shaping meaning and ideology.


By addressing these implications in light of broader shifts toward networked individualism and post-feminism, this paper critically examines the ideological significance of selfies and demonstrates a need to reconsider what sociological perspectives can contribute to the study of selfies within the context of networked cultures.



Barnard, S.R. (2016), "Spectacles of Self(ie) Empowerment? Networked Individualism and the Logic of the (Post)Feminist Selfie", Communication and Information Technologies Annual (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 63-88.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016 Emerald Group Publishing Limited