Life in the 21st century is increasingly being quantified and datafied as societies are becoming ever more reliant on algorithms and data to manage all aspects of everyday activities. In recent years, we have witnessed an abundance of techniques and devices that enable routine forms of digital self-tracking and monitoring. Bodies and minds are turning into measurable machines and information dispensers in the quest for personal development, productivity and the extraction of value. This has given rise to the Quantified Self movement whose motto is “self knowledge through numbers”. While this movement is often discussed in terms of positive trends towards health-management and self-improvement, it is also raising issues of potential surveillance (by self and others) and concerns with the ramifications of excessive self-involvement.
In this research, I aim to provide a thorough and critical discussion on the ontological and ethical dimensions of health management and self-tracking technologies, and on users’ experiences of these technologies and the way they make sense of their datafied self and networked bodies. I draw on empirical research as well as a theoretical framework deriving from critiques of biopolitics and neoliberalism, and the Foucauldian notion of governmentality and technologies of the self