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Self(ie)-Care and Mental Health



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Wadsworth, Thomas 


The amount of research on the use of selfies as a form of care is scarce, with those focusing on mental health being non-existent. Following Foucault’s genealogy of madness, this paper attempts to analyse how forms of care enacted through the taking, posting, and viewing of selfies work to critique much of the discourse surrounding mental disorders. Starting with the position of selfies as purely a tool to help visualise those previously invisible, care is seen to be enacted in multiple ways as a distraction from life to allow survival. However, the analysis goes further to combine photographic theory, disabilities studies, and photo-voice interviews in an attempt to allow for a voice for the excluded position of the ‘mad’. Through a queer reading of narcissism and analysis of the combined embodied gestures in the selfie – commanding the viewer to both “look at me showing you me” and “look at me looking at me” - this paper argues that the image provides the possibility of reconstructing the disabled subject. In short, the aim of the research is to point at how selfies may be engaged to push towards the flourishing life for the marginalised mentally ill body.





Moreno Figueroa, Mónica


selfies, self-care, mental health


Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge