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Title: Selfie production : a qualitative study of platform affordances and cultural norms in shaping Saudi women's selfie practices posted on Instagram and Snapchat
Author: Qutub, Afnan Abdullah
ISNI:       0000 0004 7657 924X
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2018
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With the rise of digital technologies, selfies are a contemporary and popular form of digitally produced self-expression for women in Saudi Arabia. Drawing from a phenomenological approach, informed by Goffman's (1959) self-presentation theory and Hall's (1966) proxemics theory, this study explores how Saudi women express their identity through selfie images on Instagram and Snapchat platforms, examining how these practices are shaped by cultural norms and platform affordances. Methodologically, the study consisted of four staged phases with 25 Saudi women involving focus groups, in-depth interviews, online observation, and photo-elicitation interviews. Through the research I developed a framework for understanding selfie production, consisting of seven stages, and I identified six key motives for taking and posting selfies on these platforms. This study draws on critical technological perspectives and theories of spaces to show how Saudi cultural norms, in combination with platform architecture and affordances, shape and inform selfie production in a number of ways. For example, Saudi women are discerning about which platforms they use, depending on which audiences they want to reach, and they build what I conceptualise as "virtual walls" to keep audiences separate. The study makes several important empirical, theoretical, and methodological contributions by shedding light on the selfie production and sharing process, highlighting how users and culture are shaping online practices, providing a new way of thinking about selfies in terms of dramaturgical analysis, and pioneering a mixed method design providing multidimensional understanding of selfie presentation in online spaces.
Supervisor: Campbell, Vincent Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available