What is the Self in the Celebrity Selfie? Celebrification, Phatic Communication and Performativity

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The aim of this article is to outline celebrity selfies as a photographic genre and means of self-expression within celebrity culture. In the theoretical framework, we approach celebrity selfies on three distinct levels. First, the article elaborates on the concept of celebrification in order to set the cultural context for celebrity selfies. The second section discusses the phatic communicative function performed by celebrity selfies on social network sites to establish presence and keep fans updated and connected through the successive documentation of the everyday lives of celebrities. In the third section, we present the performativity of the image itself, which creates a sense of immediacy by putting on display its own coming into being. The following sections engage in a case study of selfies posted on the Instagram profile of the Danish pop singer and songwriter Medina, which merges intimacy, access and authenticity with promotion and branding. Finally, the conclusion elaborates on this article’s contribution to the understanding of celebrity selfies and discusses the paradox that celebrity selfies narrow the gap between celebrities and their followers, at the same time as they continuously maintain differences across the gap.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCelebrity Studies
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)249-263
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - celebrity selfies, celebrification, phatic communication, connected presence, performativity, Medina

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