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The Selfie Phenomenon – Consumer Identities in the Social Media Marketplace

Journal call for papers from European Journal of Marketing

The Selfie Phenomenon – Consumer Identities in the Social Media Marketplace
Call for Papers for a special section of European Journal of Marketing

Submission deadline: July 31, 2015

Guest Editors

• Professor Richard Kedzior, Bucknell University, USA
• Professor Douglas E. Allen, Bucknell University, USA
• Professor Jonathan E. Schroeder, Rochester Institute of Technology, USA

Focus of the special section:

Marketing scholars have long been interested in the concept of the self (e.g., Sirgy, 1982, Belk, 1988) as well as its manifestations in consumer identity projects (Arnould and Thompson 2005). An important subset of this literature examines the ways in which consumer selves are expressed conspicuously through market choices such as personal possessions or favorite brands (e.g., Belk, 1988, Fournier, 1998, Tian and Belk 2005). Another relevant line of research concerns visual issues in marketing, such as technology advertising (e.g., Buchanan-Oliver, Cruz, and Schroeder, 2010;), the importance of faces in advertising (e.g., Ilicic, Baxter and Kulczynski, 2015), and aesthetic style and marketing (Pracejus, O’Guinn and Olsen, 2013; Schroeder, 2013).

More recently, the proliferation of the Internet as well as digital and mobile technologies has enabled consumers to express their selves in digital environments (Belk 2013, Schroeder, 2013). Moreover, social media has quickly become a major marketing force (e.g., Gensler, Völckner, Liu-Thompkins, and Wiertz, 2013). This “digital turn” in the interest focused on the consumer self has generated a flurry of research in the social sciences (Dominick, 1999, Nicole et al. 2006) as well as marketing. For instance, Schau and Gilly (2003) have investigated consumers’ personal websites as a form of conspicuous presentation of the self. In a similar vein Arsel and Bean (2013) have revealed how blogging about design can constitute an important aspect of self-presentation in the context of taste regimes. McQuarrie, Miller and Phillips (2013) have demonstrated how fashion bloggers deploy the “megaphone effect” to build audiences, and revealed how social media sites like Pinterest function as marketing tools (Phillips, Miller, and McQuarrie, 2014). Schroeder (2013) has shown how the visual style of “snapshot aesthetics” works strategically.

A very recent development in this area is the selfie - “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media” ( Compared to other forms of digital self-presentation where the information about the consumer self is inferred from a range of cues (e.g., website design, blogging style) the selfie is different in that it usually features the individual as the focal subject, more directly and explicitly linking the image to the actual consumer. Although the selfie is frequently cast as a niche social media phenomenon, its prominence spans the cultural and commercial worlds. Selfies featuring presidents, celebrities as well as ordinary consumers have become not only the topic of cultural commentary, but also a resource for brand management epitomized during the 2014 Academy Awards when host Ellen DeGeneres’ seemingly spontaneous group selfie was later revealed to be a planned promotion for Samsung smartphones.

Despite the selfie’s multifaceted influence on consumer culture and marketing practices, so far it has received limited attention from marketing scholars. Therefore this special section seeks to lay a foundation for an academic discussion about the role of the selfie phenomenon in the social media marketplace.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

• Selfie as marketing tool: How do selfies work within advertising campaigns, social media, and promotion? What is the role of the selfie in building brands, including celebrity brands, corporate brands, and personal brands? How do branding and marketing concepts such as authenticity inform the selfie’s function in marketing?

• Selfie as a social media resource: How do consumers use selfies to construct and present themselves in social media? How do selfies become resources for both consumers and marketers? How is the selfie used for branding- and celebrity-related campaigns?

• Selfie as a technology: How are selfies produced and circulated? When do certain selfies go viral? How do marketplace resources enable consumers to produce selfies? Which affordances of media support selfie-exchanges among consumers?

• Selfie as a methodology: What methods can be used to study selfies? What kinds of marketing knowledge and consumer insight can be generated through the study of the selfie, and broader social media practices?

• Selfie as a socio-historical phenomenon: What is the cultural genealogy of the selfie? How does it fit with other cultural forms such as self-portrait or photography? What are the implications for contemporary marketing practice and theory?

Submission procedure

Full research papers or shorter research notes are welcome as submissions.
Submission to this section is through Manuscript Central. Please review the author guidelines for the journal before submission at Instructions are included there. Questions – Richard Kedzior: [email protected]


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