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MFCO242 Special Topic

The 'selfie' as a site of critical study; 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 Special Topic
Paper code MFCO242
Subject Media, Film and Communication
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (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

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'
  • Weekly image production task 40%
  • Writing task (four out of six weeks) 40%
  • Discussion/seminar tasks 20%
Teaching Arrangements

This paper is offered both on campus and as distance paper.


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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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system