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Face in Trouble – From Physiognomics to Facebook

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Edited By Olga Szmidt and Katarzyna Trzeciak

This book analyzes unobvious relations between historical definitions of the face and its contemporary usage in popular culture and social media, like Facebook or Instagram. Bringing together a wide range of methodologies, it includes essays from manifold disciplines of the humanities such as philosophy, literary and art criticism, media and television studies, game studies, sociology and anthropology. The authors focus on both metaphorical and material meanings of the face. They grapple with crucial questions about modernity, modern and postmodern subjectivity, as well as with origins of certain linguistic terms and popular, colloquial phrases based on the concept of the face.

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#face, #selfie, #belfie – A new chapter in the history of the human body? Instagram as a body-centric product of the infinity of lists. (Magda Ciereszko)

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Magda Ciereszko

#face, #selfie, #belfie – A new chapter in the history of the human body? Instagram as a body-centric product of the infinity of lists.

The article presents Instagram as a body-centric social medium with its own poetics, and one which reveals interesting tendencies. This app, launched in 2010, unquestionably changed ways of self-presentation. By sharing and hashtagging their content, Instagram users participate in an infinity of lists. Many Instagram’s hashtags pertain to the body (#body, #fit, #naked) or to parts thereof (#face, #legs, #hair, etc.). However, there are also hashtags which allow people to express their physical differences (e.g. #getyourbellyout) or to join many body-oriented ideological movements, such as #freethenipple. Furthermore, Instagram’s body-centric phenomenon is explored by influential artists and media. It can be seen as an example of the ambivalent state of body in modern mediated culture.

Keywords: body, Instagram, social media, selfie

Introduction: a contemporary history of the human body

The monumental three-volume synthesis Historie du corps [Courtine 2014] ends with a chapter about the body in the visual arts.1 The newest history of the human body seems to be taking place on the Internet, however, and especially the Web 2.0. Social media has become an important part of people’s lives. Nowadays, for many people all around the world, sharing self-generated content is part of an everyday routine, an everyday experience, and an everyday expression of themselves. It is also, or even primarily,...

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