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MFCO224 Studying Selfies: Celebrity, Surveillance and Cyberspace

The 'selfie' as a site of critical study, looking at selfies as cultural objects and how researchers understand the selfie as a space for/act of communication.

This paper explores the idea of the 'selfie' as a popular cultural phenomena, as a digital process and as a space for communication and cultural expression. Through this paper you will learn to think critically about selfies as a discourse, as a cultural practice, as techno-socially enabled and as a rich space for communication and critique. You will also take many selfies!

Paper title Studying Selfies: Celebrity, Surveillance and Cyberspace
Paper code MFCO224
Subject Media, Film and Communication
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period(s) Summer School (Distance learning)
Summer School (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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18 points
Schedule C
Arts and Music
May not be credited together with MFCO242 passed in 2017 or 2018.
Department of Media, Film and Communication
Tel 03 479 3724
Teaching staff
Dr Owain Gwynne
Paper Structure
  1. Identity, interpellation and critiques of selfie culture
  2. Branding and celebrity
  3. Dataveillance, biometrics and facial recognition
  4. Sexuality, dating and gender
  5. Subalterns, criminals and others
  6. Space, place and 'appropriateness'


  • Image Production Tasks (shortened self-reflection blogs) x 4 - 20%
  • Critical essay - 40%
  • Presentation/Diary - 40%
Teaching Arrangements

The Distance Learning offering of this paper is taught remotely.

The on-campus occurrence of this paper is delivered in Dunedin.

No textbook, but there will be set course materials.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Communication, Information literacy, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
At the completion of this paper students will:
  • Be able to both communicate and critique popular self-produced visual messages
  • Understand the selfie as an international phenomenon that is subject to and reproduces cultural values and ideals
  • Show an understanding of the ethical implications of engaging with, sharing and studying personal images in social contexts
  • Be able to manage complex forms of information and structure and analyse these visual messages within a cultural, techno-social, political and economic context

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Summer School

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system

Summer School

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 10:00-11:50 2-7


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Thursday 10:00-11:50 2-7


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Thursday 14:00-15:50 2-7