Announcing the IJOC Special Issue on Selfies

Two fabulous members of our network, Nancy Baym and Theresa Senft, have edited a special issue of the International Journal of Communication all about selfies. There are a whopping EIGHTEEN new articles on Selfies, plus the introduction by Nancy & Terri which is just amazing. (AND it’s all open access.) If you only read one selfie-related article this year, it should be “What Does the Selfie Say? Investigating a Global Phenomenon.”

I quote:

Perhaps the most obvious argument to be made against conceptualizing selfies as only acts of vanity or narcissism is the fact that as a genre, selfies consist of far more than stereotypical young girls making duck faces in their bathrooms. When people pose for political selfies, joke selfies, sports-related selfies, fan-related selfies, illness-related selfies, soldier selfies, crime-related selfies, selfies at funerals, or selfies at places like museums, we need more accurate language than that afforded by 19th-century psychoanalysis to speak about what people believe themselves to be doing, and what response they are hoping to elicit…We are fortunate to have 18 contributions to this special section. The authors hail from around the globe, employ a range of methodological approaches, and study many different types of selfies, some of which are, in fact, duck faces produced by teenage girls.
In studying selfies, scholars are constantly confronted by the twin tropes of narcissism/vanity and mental illness. Those of us who publish or research in this area are nudged to give a pull quote that selfies are pathological, evidence of a generation lost to social media. Like the lurid penny dreadful novel of Victorian England, the “cyberporn panic” of the 1990s, or the “online predator” scare of the early 2000s, selfies are the latest example of a moral panic around media technologies embraced by young people.
Reading the contributions to the IJOC Special Issue should reveal that, far from evidence that “millennials” are narcissistic and self-obsessed, selfies constitute an assemblage of practices and may mean wildly different things in different political, social, economic, and cultural contexts. As academics, the scholars represented in this issue see selfies as  “objects to think with” and think through a diverse body of topics, including big data, journalism, activism, gender, race, class, representation, authenticity, and marginalization.

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