CfP: 4S Annual Meeting – Open Panel Exploring self-tracking: between submission and resistance

An important event for anyone interested in self-tracking:


The Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) invites submissions for its 2015 conference in Denver, Colorado, November 11-14.

There are numerous open panels to which submissions are invited, but I wanted to notify you about the panel on self-tracking and quantified self:

Exploring self-tracking: between submission and resistance

Ever-increasing number of apps and sophisticated technologies allow us on a minute-basis to know our bodies in unusually detailed ways: the number of calories consumed, the steps taken, our average heartbeat, hours of REM sleep etc. The use of these new technologies are often referred to as ‘self-tracking’.

Technologies of self-tracking can be perceived as a way of governing that greatly highlights the individual responsibility for personal well-being and can be seen as encouraging ‘the entrepreneurial, self-regulating subject that is represented as the ideal responsible citizen in neoliberal societies’ (Lupton 2012:235). Seen from this point of view self-tracking implies submitting oneself under the neoliberal self-governance to maintain the health and wellbeing as they are defined by the discourses of biomedicine.

However, alternative takes on self-tracking exist. The Quantified Self community offers a platform for people involved in self-tracking to share their ideas and experiences. Very often people in this community build new technologies or tinker and individualise the old ones to gather the self-knowledge they want. This emphasises the n=1 approach to self-tracking, where the most important data is individual, rather than statistically defined. Based on this Nafus and Sherman (2014) argue that Quantified Self can be seen as ‘soft resistance’ to the authoritative meanings of wellbeing.

This panel aims to develop a better understanding of self-tracking as both technologies closely related to and diverging from biomedicine and biopolitics. It invites participants to explore, for example, what kinds of knowledge self-tracking technologies employ and what kinds of subjectivities they shape. Can its users be classified as simply controlled or resisting? Is self-tracking a product of ever-increasing medicalisation or new ways of exploring your body outside the realm of clinic and biomedical knowledge? What needs and ideas shape self-tracking technologies and what kind of users they are tailored to?

You are kindly invited to submit your papers here (includes more info about submission requirements):


Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015: Submission opens
Sunday, March 29, 2015: Deadline for submissions of individual papers, session proposals and movies/videos.
Sunday, May 24, 2015: Acceptance notification.
May 25 – August 9, 2015: Early registration.
September 1, 2015: All presenters must register to be included in the program. For papers with more than one author, one presenter must register to be included in the final program.
September 13: Program posted

More information on the conference:

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