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  • The Quantified Self and the Digital Making of the Subject

    Laurence Barry

    Chapter from the book: Stocchetti, M. 2020. The Digital Age and Its Discontents: Critical Reflections in Education.

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    With new devices and technologies that both quantify and continuously track bodily indicators, the past decade has seen the emergence of a digital subject, the ‘quantified self’ that in many ways illustrates our current digital predicament. Following Michel Foucault, I contend that these new technologies bring with them a new form of government, which combines discipline and statistics in order to focus on individual behaviour and its prediction. It also marks the entrance of the subject into a new regime of truth, where numbers have replaced narratives in the relation to the body, thus implying new forms of subjectivation. Yet, while the data era and its numerical outlook seem to imply a hyper-rationalization of the relation to self, I intend to show here that the reliance on applications to obtain knowledge on one’s body actually makes of the algorithm a new master of truth, one that bypasses rationality in its constitution of the digital subject.

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    Barry, L. 2020. The Quantified Self and the Digital Making of the Subject. In: Stocchetti, M (ed.), The Digital Age and Its Discontents. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33134/HUP-4-5

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on Aug. 11, 2020


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