As large-scale media visualizations from the Selfiecity database of images shot in five cities on four continents indicate, the selfie has become a truly transnational genre that is as much about placemaking as it is about the narrowcasting of particular faces and bodies. At the same time, the scholarly literature around this specific form of self-representation through closely distant mobile photography has struggled to keep up with theorizing emergent new media practices that utilize lenses, screens, mirrors, and armatures in novel ways and generate compositions with distinctive framing and posing that mark belonging to selfie taxonomies.
In the 1980s, politicians moved to drive more students into the sciences, seen once again more narrowly as a catalyst to economic growth. In Australia, state funding of higher education as a share of GNP dropped by a third between 1975 and 1985. As state funding declined, state control over remaining funding tightened. The reforms led by Australia’s Labor Education Minister John Dawkins prioritised ‘those fields of study of greatest relevance to the national goals of industrial development and industrial restructuring’. In the UK, the Conservative government also revived human-capital arguments in order to boost science and engineering. Margaret Thatcher’s Education Minister Keith Joseph argued that much current higher-education output was economically valueless, even ‘damaging to the spirit of enterprise’. In the US, where government had fewer levers to control higher education, the advent of neo-liberal governments after 1980 was seen by many commentators to coincide with a new instrumentalism among the student population, which favoured vocational subjects over inspirational ones. The humanities, in particular, were thought to be committing suicide by fighting ‘culture wars’, often in foreign languages (French theory, poststructuralism, identity politics), which only widened the gap between them and the public.