Merve Sefa YILMAZ and Ayşe MERMUTLU
Parallel to the widespread use of digitalization in all areas of life, monitoring and evaluation of various bodily functions and practices through digital technologies has also taken its place among daily life routines. With wearable/portable devices and smart phone applications, many bodily parameters and practices such as steps counts, calorie consumption, sleep tracking, stress level, habits and personal finance management, etc. are tracked, converted into quantitative data, analyzed, and those bodily functions and practices are re-structured on the basis of these data. Expressed in the description of the “Quantified Self”, this contemporary trend corresponds to the new forms of regulation of bodily practices in the digital society and is discussed in the relevant literature within the framework of various forms of subjectivity. The Foucauldian theoretical line considers self-tracking as a self-practice in the context of biopower as a normalization, control and surveillance activity that structures bodily practices around certain norms regarding health and aesthetics. Self-tracking practices are also discussed in the context of new-individualism culture, where self-transformation through self-knowledge and self-updating is the distinguishing feature, and performance subject as a “self-designer”, a success-oriented “self-entrepreneur” who transforms herself into a project. In this paper, firstly, these subjectivities will be evaluated in the context of self-tracking practices and current approaches as to what kind of subjectivity to which the “quantified self” corresponds will be discussed. Then, the thesis that the subject of the self-tracking practice can be understood in a more comprehensive way in the context of the notion of “neoliberal subjectivity”, which includes certain aspects of the subjectivities in question, will be discussed.
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