A while ago I was interviewed by Chris Till for his exciting podcast Digital Health/ Digital Capitalism. It was an interesting discussion and Chris asked me about a few things: we talked about the concept of “biopedagogy” and training with wearables and other tracking technologies, which I wrote about with Kate O’Riordan in a special issue about self-tracking in Health Sociology Review, edited by Deborah Lupton. We also talked about gender and the Quantified Self, which I analyse in Chapter 4 (“From Egg Donation to Fertility Apps: Feminist Knowledge Production and Reproductive Rights”) of my new book Feminist Activism and Digital Networks.
I also taked to Chris about how I am thinking about the moral economy of data sharing and how we perform ‘good citizenship’ with self-tracking technologies, which I have written about in a fantastic new book (more info to follow soon). And of course we talked about my research on fertility apps, which is also a forthcoming publication.
The podcast series has been hosting very influential scholars who think critically about digital health, so it is really worth listening to if you are interested in the field.
Delighted that the article I wrote with Kate O’Riordan (as part of our EU-funded EPINET project) on wearable sensors and fitness tracking has now just been published online in the academic journal Health Sociology Review here. It is part of a special issue on self-tracking, edited by Deborah Lupton, and I can’t wait to read the cutting edge work of other colleagues in this same volume. The article is called ‘Training to self-care: fitness tracking, biopedagogy and the healthy consumer’ and it is based on research around Fitbit, a wearable sensor device, through two complementary analytical approaches: auto-ethnography and media analysis. Drawing on the concept of biopedagogy, which describes the processes of learning and training bodies how to live, we focus on how users learn to self-care with wearable technologies through a series of micropractices that involve processes of mediation and the sharing of their own data via social networking. Our discussion is oriented towards four areas of analysis: data subjectivity and sociality; making meaning; time and productivity and brand identity. We articulate how these micropractices of knowing one’s body regulate the contemporary ‘fit’ and healthy subject, and mediate expertise about health, behaviour and data subjectivity.
You can download the article here http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/14461242.2016.1184582
The fortnightly Media faculty-led Research Seminar will be taking place this Wednesday 23rd October at 4pm in G22, Jubilee Building, University of Sussex.
Details are as follows:
Dr Aristea Fotopoulou: ‘Climbing Gotzilla: Apps, sensors and all these data’
As a health-related, cloud-based consumer electronics device, FitBit monitors a small range of activities linked to weight loss and fitness activity. In this presentation, I focus on how the user interface (device screen, phone app and website) emphasises the gaming and social networking dimensions of the object, with badges and regular encouraging messages to the user, such as ‘Love Ya!’. Through this analysis I locate tracking sensors alongside the technoscientific visions that circulate in digital culture, and critically discuss emerging self-management behaviours.
Dr Aristea Fotopoulou is postdoctoral Research Fellow based at the University of Sussex working at the intersections of media & cultural studies with science & technologies studies. She currently works on EPINET(EC FP7) in a media analysis of emerging technologies, and also explores practices of data sharing and algorithmic living (Project Tracking biodata: sharing and ownership, RCUK Digital Economy NEMODE), and also is engaged in SusNet, a digital platform of feminist cultural production, art and activism.
This Seminar is organised jointly with the Centre for Material Digital Culture and Digital Humanities (MDCDH) University of Sussex.
Chair: David M. Berry
This paper presents work that has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under the grant EPINET Integrated Assessment of Societal Impacts of Emerging Science and Technology from within Epistemic Networks; and by RCUK Digital Economy NEMODE Tracking biodata: Sharing and ownership.