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The tragedy of self in digitised popular culture: the existential consequences of digital fame on YouTube

Smith, Daniel R. 2017. The tragedy of self in digitised popular culture: the existential consequences of digital fame on YouTube. Qualitative Research 17 (6) , pp. 699-714. 10.1177/1468794117700709

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Abstract

Digital data is constitutive of many forms of popular culture and user engagement. How data feeds back and is integrated into practice is of critical importance when it comes to analysing the place of the ‘self’ in contemporary culture. This article provides an account of video-blogging on YouTube. It takes as its case study three UK ‘YouTube Celebrities’ – Charlie McDonnell, Chris Kendall and Benjamin Cook – and focuses upon three vlogs which all express disquiet with their celebrity. This unease is articulated in relation to the digital consummation of self YouTube provides its users. Through a textual and performance analysis the article explores the cultural heritage of the vlog in what Charles Taylor calls western culture’s ‘expressive turn’. It argues that what a digitised popular culture gives us is a novel space to rework longstanding cultural ideals around the self, individuality and self-expression.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1468-7941
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 January 2019
Date of Acceptance: 24 February 2017
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2019 15:15
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/118363

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