“There is a better you in you”: Promises and Ideologies of Self-Tracking Technologies
Self-tracking describes capturing and analysing the body and life using digital technologies. Its popularity is propelled by the widespread availability of enabling technologies like smartwatches or fitness-trackers. However, given the broad consensus on the co-productive relationship between technologies and social realities, reducing this phenomenon to technological feasibility alone would be inappropriate. This paper explores self-tracking by investigating its enculturated meanings, focusing on Western Europe. For this purpose, we analysed promises behind self-tracking technologies articulated in TV-commercials considering their relation to the late-modern socio-material constitution. The findings suggest that self-tracking addresses several ideal-typical late-modern problems, like the contingency of everyday living. Self-tracking technologies promise to counteract these problems by employing number-based rationalisation strategies. They aim to increase and condense performance capacities and activate the users. Thereby, they turn out to be technologies of an instrumental reason attempting to counter collective issues by optimising the individual.
tripleC is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal (ISSN: 1726-670X). All journal content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Austria License.