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Revisiting Rousseau’s amour propre: Self-love and digital living

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The digital culture of the Internet and the emergence of social networking sites online have made identity construction a salient aspect of this economy. It also signifies a ‘narcissistic turn’ with increasing emphasis on self-construction and self-love from social profiles, self-representations, self-search to ‘selfies’. The construction of ‘self’ online is mediated through the gaze of the others, this being an important validation in the construction of self. By drawing on Rousseau’s ‘amour propre’ the article examines how this concept is relevant in today’s digital culture and self narration online through everyday communication including imaging, uploading, tagging and ‘liking’ making others’ validation of us an important element of self-esteem. Rousseau’s notion of self-love has both constructive and destructive configurations and the article argues that these can take different manifestations online in today’s contemporary digital culture.
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Keywords: Rousseau; amour propre; digital culture; self-love; self-representation; selfies

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of London

Publication date: June 1, 2017

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  • Empedocles aims to provide a publication and discussion platform for those working at the interface of philosophy and the study of communication, in all its aspects. This Journal is published in cooperation with the Section for the Philosophy of Communication of ECREA, the European Communication Reserach and Education Association.
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