Subjectivities in motion : Dichotomies in consumer engagements with self-tracking technologies. / Zakariah, Amalina; Hosany, Sameer; Cappellini, Benedetta.

In: Computers in Human Behavior, Vol. 118, 106699, 05.2021.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review




With the rise of self-tracking technologies (STT), self-quantification has become a popular digital consumption phenomenon. Despite recent academic interests, self-tracking practices remain poorly understood, in particular, little is known on how consumers engage with STT and how such behavioural trends produce new subjectivities. This paper adopts a Foucauldian perspective of self-surveillance to explore: how do subjectivities emerge from consumer interactions and engagements with self-tracking technologies? Data were collected from twenty participants using an ethnographic research design over six months consisting of semi-structured interviews and participant observation. The findings reveal two sets of dichotomies in the way consumers engage with STT, categorised as: ‘health and indulgence’ and ‘labour and leisure’. Through these dichotomies of self-surveillance, four subjectivities emerged: ‘redemptive self’, ‘awardee’, ‘loyal’ and ‘innovator’. Our study presents subjectivities as a continual process of (re)configuration of the self, as consumers move from one dichotomy to another. At the practical level, our findings offer novel approaches to segment consumers by reviewing the different contours of consumer behaviour in their interactions with STT.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106699
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Early online date12 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
This open access research output is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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