The Phenomena of the 21st Century Image: Instagram Iconography as an Extension of the Dominant Ideological Order


  • Ana Vukčević



social media, image, Instagram, semiotics, myth, technology, culture, social class, ideology, capitalism, neoliberalism, power relations


In the digital and information society in which we live right now, image has the special status of one of the most attractive ways to communicate with others, transmit meaning and define one’s identity. Following Manovich’s theoretical concepts of Instagram class and Instagramism, I analyze the image shared via this platform in order to understand how it corresponds with current social and ideological paradigms. My premise is that Instagram image and its meaning and semantic structure are highly determined by dominant neoliberal and capitalist norms and values, class differences and power relations. It is formed by unwritten social codes that give visibility only to certain lifestyles, choices and preferences that reflect westernized upper classes. These social codes, along with aesthetic norms that make up what Instagramism is, deny adequate representations to marginalized groups and classes whose identity cannot fit into this cultural prototype. Therefore, Instagram as a platform and image that it produces are dominantly elitist and pro-capitalist by their very nature.


Article received: April 25, 2020; Article accepted: June 6, 2020; Published online: October 15, 2020; Original scholarly paper

Author Biography

Ana Vukčević

Ana Vukčević (1991) earned her bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Media and Communication at Singidunum University in Belgrade. Afterwards, she gained an Erasmus Mundus Basileus IV full scholarship for her master’s studies at the Faculty of Sociology, Communication, and Social Research at Sapienza University in Rome. She continued her education at Singidunum University at the Faculty of Media and Communication, where she is currently finishing her second year of Ph.D. studies. She has also been awarded a scholarship Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs for the internship at a startup in Berlin and a Queen Jadwiga Fund scholarship for a Ph.D. research exchange program. While doing her studies, she has worked mostly in advertising, having gained experience in PR and digital marketing, with commercial clients such as Carlsberg and L’Oréal as well as cultural institutions and festivals.


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How to Cite

Vukčević, A. (2020). The Phenomena of the 21st Century Image: Instagram Iconography as an Extension of the Dominant Ideological Order. AM Journal of Art and Media Studies, (23), 159–167.