Fotograf Magazine

Amalia Ulman

The Age of Selfie

In his famous book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life from
1959, Erving Goffman, an American sociologist, anthropologist and
social psychologist, tried to interpret human behaviour by using the
analogy of the theatre – in terms of playing societal roles. He showed
quite accurately and aptly how people use various “stage props” such
as houses, costumes, objects, or behaviour, postures and manipulations
of their appearance to construct their social image. Goffman published
his postulates at the very beginning of the mass media era, but he
described the trends that define our lives even more than fifty years
later, in the circulatory era of the Internet, social media and Instagram.
Easy media manipulation, however, makes the trends more and more
radical, and the mystifications and conflicts of the roles we alternately
play are becoming far more frequent.

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