New book out now: Seeing Ourselves Through Technology
HOORAY! My new book, Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves was published today by Palgrave!!! The book is open access (CC-BY) so you can download it right now for free, either from Palgrave Connect, which has it available in PDF or epub format, or from bookshops like the Amazons, where the Kindle version costs $0 or £0, or from various other places. You can even convert it to another format, make an audiobook version of it, or remix it so long as you attribute me as the author.
In Seeing Ourselves Through Technology, I analyse three intertwined modes of online self-representation: visual, written and quantitative. I explores topics like the meaning of Instagram filters, smartphone apps that write your diary for you, and the ways in which governments and commercial entities create their own representations of us from the digital traces we leave behind as we go through our lives.
I received some very nice endorsements from scholars I highly respect:
“Rettberg fills an important gap in the existing literature with insightful analysis of a wide variety of very recent digital practices. Her writing presents an appealing voice of academic authority that is inflected with a personal experience strongly grounded in an ethos of embodied and situated knowledge. Rettberg explains what it means to be a participant observer who tracks her own movements, emotions, and interactions with ubiquitous technologies and many other means of self-surveillance. This is a timely and compact scholarly monograph that provides an extended critical interpretation of a contemporary topic. As an important feminist new media theorist, Rettberg is worth listening to.” – Elizabeth Losh, University of California, San Diego, USA
“Jill Walker Rettberg challenges us to take seriously selfies and other forms of digital self-expression and understand them in the broader context of culture and power. In so doing, she connects important ideas and theories about aesthetics, privacy, art and data to explore and explain contemporary data-fication of the body and identity. I will never look at a selfie the same way again.” – Steve Jones, University of Illinois, USA
“Rettberg’s incisive examination of contemporary tools and habits of self-documentation – blogs and Facebook updates, Fitbits and selfies – reveals the ways those practices relate to centuries-old patterns like autobiography and self-portraits. She also demonstrates that contemporary distaste for self-documentation is often motivated by a desire to discipline or silence the (non-elite) practitioners, a habit targeted with special ferocity at young women. Seeing Ourselves… is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the history and patterns of self-documentation.” – Clay Shirky, New York University, USA
And of course, I would love to hear what you think!