The more-than-human sensorium

Sensory engagements with digital self-tracking technologies

Deborah LUPTON, Sarah MASLEN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this article, we draw on findings from an empirical project involving talking to Australian women about their sensory and sensemaking engagements with digital health technologies. Adopting a new feminist materialist perspective, our analysis identified a series of relational connections, affective forces and agential capacities generated when our participants came together with digitized modes of self-tracking. 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, feel more in control of bodily activities by reflecting on this information and any patterns over time it revealed. The limitations of these sensory devices were also revealed in the women’s accounts. The devices sometimes closed off or challenged women’s sensory knowledge in ways they found less than useful or helpful, due to failings in the devices’ design or functionality. Our analysis, therefore, highlights the intra-action of enactments of human sensory responses as they engage with digital devices and digital data, including the ways in which these responses were extended, facilitated, or, in some cases, challenged.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-202
Number of pages13
JournalThe Senses and Society
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2018

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