Digital self-tracking among Russian students: practices and discourses
Sociology. SOC. Высшая школа экономики , 2019. No. WP BRP 91/SOC/2019.
The article analyzes how Russian students interpret and practice digital technologies of self-tracking (fitness trackers, apps and wearables), that allow to collect biometric and activity data. It is based on the results of reflective thematic analysis of students’ essays on this topic. How do students describe their experience in using self-tracking technologies? What discourses of self-tracking are represented in their essays? How do they imagine the digital future and further development of the systems of self-surveillance? The research demonstrated that many students have certain experience with quantified self-tracking, whereas some tend to limit it or refused from it for some reasons. Based on the students’ stories (former and active users), the author offers to distinguish three styles of self-tracking: ‘gamer’, ‘manager’ and ‘transformer’. A ‘gamer’ is looking for the feelings of thrill, pleasure and novelty; a ‘manager’ aims at putting one’s head and life in order; a ‘transformer’ wants to change one’s life and mind radically. In reality any self-tracker combines all three roles, though one of them might dominate. According to the students, the existing technologies of self-measuring cannot give strong enough motivation for self-optimization, but in the future their effectiveness may increase. This study also resulted in defining four types of discourse on self-tracking: ‘progressivist’, ‘pragmatic’, ‘critical’ and ‘anti-utopian’. They represent the differences in conceptualization of self-tracking as a cultural phenomenon. Some students are prone to optimistic or balanced evaluation of the potential of self-tracking technologies; others focus on risks and hazards of ‘datafication’ of people and social life. The outcomes of the study develop the previous research on styles of quantified self-tracking, providing additional analysis of the reflections of (non-)users, concerning self-tracking as a cultural phenomenon.
Research target: Media and Communications Sociology (including Demography and Anthropology
Priority areas: sociology
, Мониторинг общественного мнения: Экономические и социальные перемены 2020 № 2 С. 191-211
The article examines how Russian students think about and engage with digital self-tracking technologies (mobile apps, wearable fitness trackers, smartwatches), which collect biometric and behavioral data. It presents the results of reflexive thematic analysis of students’ essays on the topic. What meanings of self-tracking are foregrounded in these works? How do students describe their experience ...
Added: December 14, 2019
, Вестник Московского университета. Серия 10: Журналистика 2020 № 5 С. 29-53
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, Forum for Anthropology and Culture 2019 No. 15 P. 137-152
The article addresses the understudied phenomenon of digital quantification of the body and everyday life, which has arisen due to the proliferation of wearable and mobile fitness technologies. The author reviews a number of recent studies which have contributed significantly to the conceptualisation of digital self-tracking. Examining various approaches and directions in the study of self-tracking, ...
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