The utopia of the better self: self-documentation and data practices in everyday (virtual) life 
Yonca Krahn (Universität Zürich)
Tom O'Dell (Lund University)
Start time:
22 June, 2015 at 14:00 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

Self-measurement techniques for bodily purpose create new communities by usage of systemic knowledge edited in virtual environment for a real life improvement.

Long Abstract

Self-measuring techniques for the strategy of self-optimisation gain momentum through development of new media and technologies in different fields: health, sports, public and private communication. This changed behaviour, focus, understanding and interpretation of daily realities to enhancement up to an utopian better self.

Such contemporary used self-documentation techniques do not only work with gadgets worn like watches or integrated in smartphones and other monitoring, registering and recording devices, such as pedometers, GPS recording or tracking for people and material goods. Phenomena such as "Selfies" or "Foodies" become part of an "open access personality".

Many self-focused strategies are supported by technical devices and sharing techniques, creating a simultaneity of real life and virtual presence. This seems to be the point when self-documentation becomes vivid: Individual data is shared and interfaced with a partly unknown other through virtuality as well as with consciously chosen contacts. This leads to the question if self-measuring underlies the tenet of controlling over things, which are individually judged as meaningful and might raise (an often fictive) quality of life. Govern data digitally and sharing with others entangles diverse groups of people throughout the world, but proposes the question whether not only a self controlling and steering exists but a crowd controlling can be found.

This panel is open to critical discussions on different trends in measuring techniques, of imaginations and practices of users. Especially ethnographic contributors are welcome, discussing keywords like controlling, surveillance, optimising and improvement of the (better) self, advancement and progress, pointing out the usage of systemic knowledge edited in virtual environment for a real life improvement.

Accepted papers: