Selfie-taking: a key semiotic practice within the ‘show of the self’

Sebastián Moreno

Punctum, 4(2): 49-65, 2018
DOI: 10.18680/hss.2018.0019

Abstract

During the last couple of years, the action of taking selfies has emerged as a common everyday life practice, mainly among young people, but not limited to them. Selfie-taking is a meaningful practice that requires a semiotic analysis. In this paper I reflect on the semiotic character of selfie-taking, particularly by discussing its nature and a possible segmentation in smaller units. Moreover, I argue that in the current scenario of extended online exhibition that anthropologist Paula Sibilia calls ‘show of the self’, selfie-taking plays a key role as a way of making evident the presence of the ‘real’ offline author in the identity narrative that is being constructed online. Within the dynamics of online self-representation and in line with the idea that online identities are actively constructed, I discuss why selfies should be regarded as heterogeneous and semiotically complex devices, and particularly how they contribute to the creation of the online identity of its authors.

KEYWORDS: selfies, self-representation, everyday life, semiotics
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