City Research Online

Locative Media and Identity

Saker, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-7414-2840 & Evans, L. (2016). Locative Media and Identity. SAGE Open, 6(3), doi: 10.1177/2158244016662692


The role of location-based social networks (LBSNs) on identity is a relatively unexplored area within the growing cannon of work on locative media. Following an exegesis of Giddens’s argument that narrative biographical accounts are critical in self-identity in the modern age and Foucault’s technologies of the self, this article positions LBSN, and in particular Foursquare, as a contributor to self-identity in users’ lives. A close reading of ethnographic and interview data from Foursquare users reveals that in the context of the presentation, maintenance, and reflection upon self-identity, LBSN use can play an integral role in the self-identity of its users. The contribution of LBSN to indicators of user lifestyle, the intentional sharing of particular locations, and user recollection of events and locations are the key features of how LBSNs provide conduits to self-identity. The degree of usage in everyday life is identified as critical in the positioning of LBSN as a key contributor to identity narratives. With the integration of LBSN features into more mainstream social media platforms, this contribution to self-identity in the social media age is resilient to the demise of stand-alone LBSN applications

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Publisher Keywords: location-based social networking, Foursquare, identity, self-identity, accumulation
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
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