The More-than-Human Sensorium: Sensory Engagements with Digital Self-Tracking Technologies
The Senses and Society Journal, Forthcoming
14 Pages Posted: 12 May 2018
Date Written: April 29, 2018
In this article, we draw on findings from an empirical project involving interviews and focus group discussions with Australian women about their sensory engagements with digital health technologies. Adopting a feminist materialist perspective, our analysis identified a series of effective forces and agential capacities generated when our participants came together with digitize modes of self-tracking as part of the more-than-human sensorium. The interviewees’ descriptions of their use of technologies such as apps and wearable devices and the ways in which their bodily sensory capabilities engaged with the digitized data were redolent with effective forces such as satisfaction, excitement and achievement but also uncertainty, anxiety and frustration. The agential capacities engendered through and with these technologies included discovering and uncovering information, motivation, quantifying and automating data collection, distinguishing ‘false’ bodily sensations from ‘real’, discerning patterns, and enhancing sensory capabilities. Working with these technologies, the women were able to access insights into their bodies and feel more in control of bodily activities by reflecting on this information and any patterns over time it revealed.
Keywords: Digital Health; Self-Tracking; Apps; Wearable Devices; Sensory Engagements; Feminist Materialism; More-Than-Human
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