Author

Jessica Lin

Class Year

2015

Access Type

Vassar Community Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Media Studies Program

Abstract

My thesis takes a look at the history of webcam culture and investigates the changing attitudes towards surveillance and privacy since the creation of webcam technology and the rise of participatory culture. I postulate that since webcam culture became increasingly popular, the strict divides between private and public spheres began to shift, resulting in the private sphere becoming increasingly represented and performed. As a result, commercial influences began affecting social understandings of the self and one’s own private sphere. The marriage between commodification and privacy in modern webcam culture subsequently complicates existing power structures associated with surveillance, as the object viewed can now receive economic and social benefits from being surveiled. My thesis concludes by grappling with different and unexpected ways in which one’s self, or one’s private sphere, is being commoditized with or without the subject’s explicit permission, and how the way someone is consumed has also changed the way one performs one’s private space.

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