SOC 7108 Chapter 20: SOC 7108 - Chapter 20
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QUANTIFYING THE BODY
Within the last five years, technology devices have become widely adopted, they can be
taken almost anywhere along with accessing internet at most locations. There is growing
literature that it has become a revolution within health care, public health and preventive
medicine otherwise known as “mHealth”. Others talk about the possibilities of being able to
communicate with the public, monitoring their behaviors and conduct health promotion
interventions VIA the devices they carry during the day.
One that has greatest attention is the wearable digital devices to collect data of one’s
bodily functions and daily activities such as their movements and locations can be identified
and tracked through the GPS system. Basically, the entire bodily systems can be monitored as
many products have now adopted the means of digital sensors to produce biometric data.
(examples on page 3). Today, the terms self-tracking and quantified self are now used to
describe the utility of these technologies. There is a growing movement in self-tracking as part
of managing/improving our individual lives. The activities of these voluntary trackers tend to
mainly coincide with the objectives of health promotion and medical and public professionals
are taking advocacy to incorporate this to build their work.
A Critical Perspective on mHealth Technologies
The use of mobile matters allows for the temporal, spatial and interpersonal nature of
health surveillance. Data may be easily and frequently collected every time they use the app.
While, there is growing literature on this topic, there has yet been critical analyses. The author
seeks to discuss the concept of the cyborg and how it is relevant in theorizing this type of health
and how technology may be used as an interpreter of the body. The author further draws upon
surveillance studies to argue the idea that health technology acts a means to configure and
reconfigure bodies along with addressing privacy, intimacy and ethical issues. Specifically, the
author will emphasize the practice of monitoring the data using mobile devices with the
theoretical perspective used seeks to conceptualize digital health matters as actors in a
network of heterogenous discourses, bodies, practices and ideas. In other words, technologies
present meaning and subjectivity for those that use them, just as the user shapes technology
and give meaning incorporating this in their everyday lives. Technology assume particular kinds
of capacities, desires and embodiments, they are never politically neutral and are always
implicated in power relations. In other words, changes in technology leads to transforming how
the body is conceptualized, touched, managed and displayed from professionals and individuals
Techno-Utopia and the Perfect(ible) Body
Some have compared the use of technology devices used with the body as aprt of the
general desire to engage in body projects, in other words help persons in defining their
identities indicating that the point of these technologies is to correct apparent deficits in body
functioning or appearance. They can be similarly viewed as enhancement technologies when
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