Digital Self-Evaluation and the Cybernetic Regime: A Sketch for a Materialist Apparatus Analysis
AbstractUsing the example of self-tracking, this paper develops a materialist approach to the methodology of apparatus analysis. It builds on the Foucauldian concept of the apparatus, which it then subdivides into micro apparatus, as a concrete digital technology, and macro apparatus, as the superordinate regime to which the micro apparatus contributes. To bridge these two concepts, the term of the “urgent need” is used for asking to which broader social problems a given apparatus reacts. Contrary to approaches of “new materialism”, this paper insists on an analytical divide between discourse and matter on the one hand and action structure on the other hand, to be able to consider politico-economic power relations. Using this methodology, the relationship between the techno-practice of self-tracking and a broader cybernetic regime, is illustrated.
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