Are you (self-)tracking? Risks, norms and optimisation in self-quantifying practices

Author(s)
Boka En, Mercedes Pöll
Abstract

In this paper, we reflect on self-tracking practices in the context of neoliberal ideologies – predominantly the quest for self-improvement as mediated by and affecting the individual. On the backdrop of Foucault’s concept of governmentality and current academic research on the Quantified Self, we consider online accounts and reflections of people’s self-tracking endeavours as they emerge from and exist in neoliberal frameworks. We will outline how they relate to and produce ideas of humanity as inherently risky, the construction of ‘normality’ based on individual parameters, as well as optimisation as a never ending imperative where new opportunities for improvement are paramount. Finally, we present and suggest ways of queering self-tracking in order to subvert and reconceptualise its practice in order to imagine and enable the emergence of different utopias.

Organisation(s)
Department of Science and Technology Studies
Journal
Graduate Journal of Social Science.
Volume
12
Pages
37-57
Publication date
2016
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
Social studies of science
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/are-you-selftracking-risks-norms-and-optimisation-in-selfquantifying-practices(49a9b47c-4994-4615-82a4-18f7bd25ff4d).html