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  • Metric Culture: The Quantified Self and Beyond

7-9 June 2017

Recent years have witnessed an intensive growth of systems of measurement and an increasing integration of data processes into various spheres of everyday life, so much so that it can be argued that we are now living in a ‘metric culture’. From smartphones apps that measure our activity and sleep, to digital devices that monitor our health and performance at the workplace, the culture of measurement is currently on the rise. Encouraged by movements such as the Quantified Self, whose motto is ‘Self Knowledge through Numbers’, a growing number of people across the globe are embracing practices of self-quantification and tracking with the aim to assess and improve their health, productivity and wellbeing.

The overarching aim of this international conference is to critically engage with the nuanced aspects and multifaceted implications of living in a metric culture. This event will look at the ways data and metrics link to understandings and representations of self and identity, to issues of power and control, and to questions of value and agency. We will seek to interrogate the kinds of ontologies, relations and communities that are emerging out of the hybrid interweaving of body and technology in the context of the Quantified Self practices and beyond.

By bringing together relevant scholars who are engaged in the study of the social, political, cultural and ethical dimensions of self-tracking practices and related technologies, the conference aims to provide critical insights and nuanced reflections on the way metric culture is unfolding within and affecting the various spheres of our lives, and how it is reshaping our relation to our bodies, vitalities and surroundings.


Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS), Aarhus University, Buildings 1630-1632, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. See location on a map.

Keynote speakers

Prof. Deborah Lupton (University of Canberra, Australia)

Prof. Rosalind Gill (City University London, UK)


SEE THE PROGRAMME HERE (Updated on 6 June - with a few changes)


Time schedule

Wednesday 7 June
14:00-14:30: Registration
14:00-18:30: Keynote 1, panels and screenings
18:30-20:00: Welcome Reception

Thursday 8 June
09:00-09:30: Coffee and registration
09:30-18:30: Panels
19:30-22:30: Conference dinner, Centralværkstedet Værkmestergade 9, DK-8000 Aarhus C, www.centralvaerkstedet.dk/ 

Friday 9 June
09:00-09:30: Coffee and registration
09:30-18:30: Keynote 2 and panels
18:30: Closing note

Registration and fees: NOW CLOSED

  • Academics (who are not presenting): DKK 750,-
  • Students (who are not presenting) and the general public: DKK 150,- 

The registration fees for 'Presenters' (1000,-) is no longer available as the programme is finalized. The fee 'Academics' include Welcome reception, lunch and refreshments on Thursday and Friday, coffee/tea during breaks and a VAT of 25%. The registration fee of 150,- for 'Students and Members of the Public' includes Welcome reception Wednesday, coffee/tea during breaks and VAT of 25%. This fee excludes lunch. 


Call for abstracts: NOW CLOSED

We invite submissions (theoretical, empirical, visual or performative) on topics related (but not limited) to:

  • Histories and genealogies of self-tracking and quantification
  • Sociology and philosophy of wearable technologies and ubiquitous computers
  • The social life of self-tracking practices and data
  • Self-tracking and social media
  • Self-tracking and biomedia
  • Quantified Self communities
  • Quantified Self and Big Data
  • Quantified Self and healthcare
  • Quantified Self and the insurance industry
  • Quantified Self and the law
  • Quantified Self and the environment
  • Quantified Self and surveillance
  • Quantified Self at the workplace
  • Politics of metrics within academia
  • Methodological issues in researching the Quantified Self and metric culture

We are particularly interested in contributions from the fields of Media and Cultural Studies, Digital Culture, Sociology, Philosophy, Anthropology, Medical Humanities, Surveillance Studies, and other related disciplines. Participation of the Quantified Self community itself is also highly encouraged.


Deadline: Abstracts (max. 200 words) and a short biographical note (max. 100 words) should be sent by 10 November 2016 to bajana@aias.au.dk with “metric culture abstract” as the email title.


The symposium is funded by: