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The Instagram globe-trotters: contemporary representation (s) of the trip

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This research work focuses on studying the representations of the journey put into circulation via the Instagram device by a group of users — which we simply define as a globe-trotters whose passion and practice from elsewhere is laid as common denominators. The study of the process of identity building on the social network examined first allows us to understand the representative and technical methods to which it is subject. This leads to the creation of a narrative digital identity: that of a globe-trotter, both an actor and a storytelling, who tells his experience of travelling. Based on self-qualification, identity is proclaimed arbitrarily and must then be performed adequately. The existence of an implicit communication contract with a ‘public’ leads to its establishment of globe-trotter the need to adopt expected representations and to produce relevant signs. We also note that the identity model chosen is that of the traveller, as opposed to that of the tourist. By attaching to the mythified figure of the traveller and separating itself from the socially impaired figure of the tourist, the Instagram globe-trotter revitalises popular duality and affirms its willingness to relate to a pre-existing common imagination. Our second stage of study is to try to update narrative models and reference stories reinvested by our globe-trotters in their own storytelling and the performance of their identity. Exploring the great narratives, figures and basic narratives of our common imaginary of ‘true travel’ allows us to compare contemporary productions of our globe-trotters and the practices and values associated with the mythic journey. It appears that the ‘storytelling’ on Instagram takes place from this great fresque that is our imagination of Voyage with a great ‘V’ — using the same models, stories and ideals. In this way, Instagram’s globe-trotters are a continuation of the kind of travel narrative by offering a version 2.0. Finally, we seek to critically question the updated representations and their “common”: it is apparent that the rules relating to registration in a social group and in a narrative gender, as well as the imperatives linked to the scheme and the requirements of the public, tend to limit the variability of individual expressions — in particular by implying the need to produce common (iconographic and linguistic) representations. We will then examine whether there is a simple search for mediagenia and strong symbolism on the part of the settlers or whether it is the real embodiment of a contemporary concept of travel.

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