The vast majority of theses in this collection are open access and freely available. There are a small number of theses that have access restricted to the WWU campus. For off-campus access to a thesis labeled "Campus Only Access," please log in here with your WWU universal ID, or talk to your librarian about requesting the restricted thesis through interlibrary loan.
Date Permissions Signed
Date of Award
Department or Program Affiliation
Master of Arts (MA)
Pine, Judith M.S.
This study investigates how students at Western Washington University practice well-being through identity performance on the social media platform, Instagram. Data collection involved multiple qualitative methods, including an initial online survey, 25 semi-structured individual interviews, 5 focus group discussions, and photovoice analysis of participant submitted images. My analysis shows that the participants in this study use Instagram to perform multifaceted identities, and have an acute awareness of the specific affordances the application has to offer, and how that environment impacts overall well-being. Therefore, I argue that these participants have developed methods they perceive as beneficial to their own (definition of) well-being, by using Instagram to form and connect with communities, curate identities, and monitor perceived toxic habits. Through these methods, I conclude along with Boellstorff (2015) that the separation between physical and virtual realities is a dualistic perspective, and add that well-being can be viewed as a practice that is perpetually monitored, navigated, and maintained by the individual.
digital anthropology, Instagram, Identity, Well-Being, Performance
Western Washington University
Subjects – Names (LCNAF)
Instagram (Firm)--Social aspects.
Subject – LCSH
Anthropology--Research--Washington (State)--Bellingham; Well-being--Research--Washington (State)--Bellingham; College students--Social networks--Washington (State)--Bellingham; Social media and society--Washington (State)--Bellingham; Identity (Psychology) in youth--Washington (State)--Bellingham
Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.
Picchiotti, Katherine, "Optimistic Anthropology: Identity and Well-Being on Instagram" (2021). WWU Graduate School Collection. 1045.