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

Ana Vukčević


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

How to cite this article: Vukčević, Ana. "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 (2020): 159-167. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i23.404


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

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Publisher: Faculty of Media and Communications, Singidunum University, Belgrade, Serbia

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