From Quantified to Qualified Self. A Fictional Dialogue at the Mall
Quantifying the self is not enough; numbers and statistics must be interpreted, that is, integrated into networks of identity, society, and meaning. The quantified self must become a “qualified” self if body tracking is to have any impact on our lives and society. Data generated by body tracking in all forms are not merely a passive material for interpretation, they do not merely lie around in databases until something from outside makes meaning out of them. Data become information and flow in global networks. Without access to data, individuals must rely on experts and expert systems. Putting body-related data into the hands of those who are directly concerned makes them responsible for doing something with the data, for interpreting and making use of the data. Interpreting the data of body tracking occurs as networking. It breaks out of the constraints of modern subjectivity as well as paternalistic health care structures and occurs by participation, communication, and transparency, that is, by following “network norms.” Personal informatics and body tracking is a performative enactment of the informational self. The informational self is neither the product of technologies of power (Foucault), but of an “ethical” technology of the self. The self becomes a hub and an agent in the digital network society. Body tracking transforms the opaque and passive body of the pre-digital age into the informational self. Networking is the way in which order – personal, social, and ontological – is constructed in the digital age.
Belliger, Andréa; Krieger, David J.: From Quantified to Qualified Self. A Fictional Dialogue at the Mall. In: Digital Culture & Society, Jg. 2 (2016), Nr. 1, S. 25–40. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25969/mediarep/822.
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