Amie Golding

Buying into Instagram: Uploading Identity in Consumer Culture

This dissertation aims to explore the critical frameworks by which online social networking, namely Instagram, can be contextualised and understood within the discourses of individualism and consumerism. Drawing on detailed case studies of four Instagram users, this dissertation explores how the discourses of individualism and consumerism permeate through their profiles. Finding that these powerful twin discourses inform the case studied user’s reflexive constructions of identity performance and their choices of uploaded images and captions. Such that recurring themes were identified regarding how users construct their identity on Instagram with reference to what they consume, such as connoisseurship of food, a great emphasis on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and the uploading of ‘outfits of the day’ resonant with celebrity culture. From these generalities the uses of Instagram in both constructing and constituting a cohesive performance of identity can be understood in relation to the display of consumer goods, personalised with individualistic signifiers.