From Snapshot to Snapchat: Panopticon or Synopticon?

Jørgen Riber Christensen, Julie Cecilie Hansen, Frederik Holm Larsen, Jesper Sig Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The article asks the research question whether the ephemeral affordance of Snapchat can be characterized as a product of the panopticon or of the synopticon. To seek to answer this question a threefold approach is employed. The first is historical and it investigates the relationship between the snapshot tied to leisure (“the Kodak moment”) and Snapchat. The second is empirical, and it uses pre-existing statistics about Snapchat and a questionnaire survey carried out for this article. Finally, the article sees the Snapchat phenomenon in the light of pertinent schools of cultural theory and in the context of new social media, e.g. research about selfies, and it considers the concepts of the panopticon and the more recent concept of the synopticon.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAkademisk Kvarter
Issue numberJune
Pages (from-to)69-84
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2015


  • Snapchat
  • Snapshot
  • Selfies
  • Synopticon
  • Panopticon

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