M-health and health promotion: the digital cyborg and surveillance society

Deborah Lupton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

268 Citations (Scopus)
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The new mobile wireless computer technologies and social media applications using Web 2.0 platforms have recently received attention from those working in health promotion as a promising new way of achieving their goals of preventing ill-health and promoting healthy behaviours at the population level. There is very little critical examination in this literature of how the use of these digital technologies may affect the targeted groups, in terms of the implications for how individuals experience embodiment, selfhood and social relationships. This article addresses these issues, employing a range of social and cultural theories to do so. It is argued that m-health technologies produce a digital cyborg body. They are able to act not only as prostheses, but also as interpreters of the body. The subject produced through the use of m-health technologies is constructed as both an object of surveillance and persuasion, and as a responsible citizen who is willing and able to act on the health imperatives issuing forth from the technologies and to present their body/self as open to continual measurement and assessment. The implications of this new way of monitoring and regulating health are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-244
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Theory and Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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