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Living by numbers - Making sense of the Quantified Body

The purpose of this project is to study in what way digital mobile technologies reshape how the body is understood and acted upon in a contemporary culture and society. These technologies have multiplied the ways the body can be measured, and measuring techniques have also become much more advanced with regards to collecting, calculating, and sharing data. While more advanced quantification of the body used to be reserved to clinical settings, they are now widely available and increasingly used beyond health purposes, increasingly moving towards performance and self-optimization. We will focus on the most influential driver of this development, namely the Quantified Self (QS) and its continuous influence on ways of quantifying the body. This is a global community whose members develop and use digital tools for understanding bodies, health, illness and performance through quantification and data. We will closely follow the members of this community during four years. The overarching research question is how members of the QS community make their bodies into meaningful objects of knowledge, as well as how this knowledge is used to achieve increased health, performance and self-optimization. The QS community is globally influential in terms of innovative capacity and cultural capital, and their understanding and actions have implications as both ideas and technological artefacts developed within the community are distributed world wide. In order to understand the quantified body in a quantified society, this project will make use of analytical frameworks from post-phenomenology, as well as applying newly developed methods from digital humanities in combination with ethnographic fieldwork.

Contact: Niclas Hagen

Page Manager: Katarina Wignell|Last update: 6/14/2017

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