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Title: Doing the self : an ethnographic analysis of the quantified self
Author: Dudhwala, Farzana
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 7713
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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'Wearables' and 'self-quantifying technologies' are becoming ever more popular and normalised in society as a means of 'knowing' the self. How are these technologies implicated in this endeavour? Using insights from a four year multi-sited ethnography of the 'Quantified Self', I explore how the self is 'done' in the context of using technologies that purport to quantify the self in some way. Drawing on Science and Technology Studies (STS) sensibilities, I conduct a four- pronged investigation into 'self-making' by drawing upon, and expanding, existing theories of agency and performativity, number, data-visualisation, and enactment. I find that self-quantifying technologies are productive in the doing of the self and are implicated in the process of making boundaries around that which comes to be known as the 'self' in a particular moment. The numbers and visualisations that result from practices of self-quantification enable a new way of 'seeing' the self, and provide a way of communicating this self with others. The self is thus not a pre-existing entity that simply requires these technologies as a means to 'know' it. Rather, the self is constantly being done with these technologies and within the surrounding practices of self-quantification. In order to highlight the different parts of this process, I proffer the term 'entractment'. This term explains how these different elements come together to culminate in the production of a momentarily constant self in a particular context. It is a way of simultaneously encapsulating the processes of intra-action, extra-action and enactment with/in a community. In sum, it captures the conclusion that, in the context of self-quantification, we must understand the self as a collective enactment, achieved, at least in part, through the use of self-quantifying technologies that produce numerical data which facilitate visualisations that are imperative to the doing of the self.
Supervisor: Woolgar, Steve ; Lezaun, Javier Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Science and Technology Studies ; Management Studies ; Quantified Self ; Ethnography