Beyond empowerment, experimentation and reasoning: The public discourse around the Quantified Self movement

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Abstract

This article presents the results of a discourse analysis of press coverage on the Quantified Self (QS) movement in the German and British (online) press between 2007 and 2018. The analysis is driven by two questions: What discursive patterns can be discerned within this coverage? And, what characterizes the translation of the experimental practices and imaginaries of this pioneer community into an overall societal reflection of deep mediatization? In essence, the article shows that the QS movement becomes a 'general signifier' for a dystopian view of deep mediatization. So, while the QS movement itself understands its practices and community as self-empowering, self-reasoning, and experimental, the constructions of the QS movement in public discourse suggest the opposite. Paradoxically, however, another basic imaginary of the pioneer community is adopted and confirmed, namely that of the (simple) mutability of society as a consequence of digital media technologies.

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Hepp, A., Alpen, S., & Simon, P. (2021). Beyond empowerment, experimentation and reasoning: The public discourse around the Quantified Self movement. Communications, 46(1), 27–51. https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2019-0189

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