This course explores the ways that digital media and technologies shape our collective and individual understandings of ‘the self’. It draws both theoretical and popular accounts of the relationship between technologies, individuals and cultures. You will examine the continuities and discontinuities between ‘old’ and ‘new’ self-making practices such as journaling/ blogging; and self-portraiture/ selfies, to consider the ways that media and technology both shape, and are shaped by socio-cultural understandings of identity formation. You will explore the ways that technologies and media platforms constrain some ‘selves’ and enable others. We will also consider the ways that self-making practices intersect with data-gathering practices, design processes, business models, and public policy. Topics include: life-hacking and the quantified self movement, microcelebrity and branding, mediated intimacies in dating and hook-up app cultures, and biometrics and surveillance.
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