Metric Culture: Ontologies of Self-Tracking Practices

Btihaj Ajana
Kings College London, UK

Product Details
24 Sep 2018
Emerald Publishing Limited
288 pages - 152 x 229mm
We live in a "metric culture" where data, algorithms, and numbers play an unmistakably powerful role in defining, shaping and ruling the world we inhabit. Increasingly, governments across the globe are turning towards metric technologies to find solutions for managing various social domains such as healthcare and education. While private corporations are becoming more and more interested in the collection and analysis of data and metrics for profit generation and service optimisation. What is striking about this metric culture is that not only are governments and private companies the only actors interested in using metrics and data to control and manage individuals and populations, but individuals themselves are now choosing to voluntarily quantify themselves and their lives more than ever before, happily sharing the resulting data with others and actively turning themselves into projects of (self-) governance and surveillance. Metric Culture is also not only about data and numbers alone but links to issues of power and control, to questions of value and agency, and to expressions of self and identity. This book provides a critical investigation into these issues examining what is driving the agenda of metric culture and how it is manifested in the different spheres of everyday life through self-tracking practices. Authors engage with a broad range of topics, examples, geographical contexts, and sites of analysis in order to account for the diversity and hybridity of metric culture and explore its various social, political and ethical implications.
1. Introduction: Metric Culture and the Over-Examined Life; Btihaj Ajana 
2. Performance Management and the Audited Self; Cris Shore and Susan Wright  
3. The Digitisation of Welfare: A Strategy Towards Improving Citizens’ Self-Care and Co-Management of Welfare; Nicole Thualagant and Ditte-Marie From
4. ‘A Much Better Person’: The Agential Capacities of Self-Tracking Practices; Deborah Lupton and Gavin J. D. Smith 
5. Resonating Self-Tracking Practices? Empirical Insights into Theoretical Reflections on a “Sociology of Resonance”; Karolin Eva Kappler, Agnieszka Krzeminska and Eryk Noji  
6. The 1-Person Laboratory of the Quantified Self Community; Thomas Blomseth Christiansen, Dorthe Brogård Kristensen and Jakob Eg Larsen 
7. Embodiment and Agency Through Self-Tracking Practices of People Living with Diabetes; Giada Danesi, Mélody Pralong and Vincent Pidoux  
8. Doing Calories: The Practices of Dieting Using Calorie Counting App MyFitnessPal; Gabija Didžiokaitė, Paula Saukko and Christian Greiffenhagen  
9. Sleep App Discourses: A Cultural Perspective; Antoinette Fage-Butler  
10. Academic Metrics and Positioning Strategies; Janet Chan, Fleur Johns and Lyria Bennett Moses  
11. Real-Time Grade Books and the Quantified Student; William G. Staples 
12. A Quantified Self Report Card: Ethical Considerations of Privacy as Commodity; Chelsea Palmer and Rochelle Fairfield  
13. The Limits of Ratio: An Analysis of NPM in Sweden Using Nicholas of Cusa’s Understanding of Reason; Jonna Bornemark
Btihaj Ajana is Senior Lecturer at the department of Digital Humanities, King's College London, UK. She was recently a Marie Curie Fellow and Associate Professor at Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies in Denmark where she conducted a project on self-tracking practices (@MetricLife). Her academic work is international and interdisciplinary in nature, spanning areas of digital culture, media praxis, and biopolitics. She is the author of Governing through Biometrics: The Biopolitics of Identity (2013) and the editor of Self-Tracking: Empirical and Philosophical Investigations (2017).

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