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4S Annual Meeting 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference -Mixed Audience


Session 78. Exploring self-tracking: between submission and resistance. Title: Self-tracking and critical sense-making. An emerging epistemic network (w/Ângela Guimarães-Pereira, JRC, Ispra, Italy). Abstract: Wearable sensors for health and fitness are commonly treated as part of a healthcare revolution with self-tracking devices increasingly used for medically-relevant and quasi-medical purposes. Public health proponents are looking for self-care incentives and marketeers make claims to medically and health-relevant knowledge in support of individuals who pursue healthier lives through self-tracking. The outcome is a growing market of gadget use and data acquisition as if 'being healthy' was reducible to a known set of parameters to track—a market with a promissory, albeit, ambivalent relationship to healthcare. Our research indicates a need to redraw the boundaries between certified and self-administered care, between medical and quasi-medial devices and services. The knowledge claims made by those who promote the latter are rarely certifiable in the conventional sense of being medically or otherwise professionally regulated. However, the media ritual that has emerged, of data logging, data analysis and sharing, facilitates knowledge production in its own right. Nafus and Sharman (2014) observe multiple roles of data collection and critical sense-making and, as Lupton 2014 argues, self-trackers commonly view themselves as part of a community, although, the 'self' appears individualistic. Indeed, our research indicates that critical sense-making begins to take the shape of a Latourian network of associations and connections in the making, which can be traced by following the accounts of the actors involved. More prominently, it becomes an epistemic network, an emerging thought-style or thought-collective comprising actors' capacities and curiosity for tinkering and sharing, with claims upon know-how and future action.

Event (Conference)

Title4S Annual Meeting 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Degree of recognitionInternational event