Societies2014, 4(3), 446-462; doi:10.3390/soc4030446 - published 28 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The recent increase in the use of digital self-tracking devices has given rise to a range of relations to the self often discussed as quantified self (QS). In popular and academic discourse, this development has been discussed variously as a form of narcissistic self-involvement, an advanced expression of panoptical self-surveillance and a potential new dawn for e-health. This article proposes a previously un-theorised consequence of this large-scale observation and analysis of human behaviour; that exercise activity is in the process of being reconfigured as labour. QS will be briefly introduced, and reflected on, subsequently considering some of its key aspects in relation to how these have so far been interpreted and analysed in academic literature. Secondly, the analysis of scholars of “digital labour” and “immaterial labour” will be considered, which will be discussed in relation to what its analysis of the transformations of work in contemporary advanced capitalism can offer to an interpretation of the promotion and management of the self-tracking of exercise activities. Building on this analysis, it will be proposed that a thermodynamic model of the exploitation of potential energy underlies the interest that corporations have shown in self-tracking and that “gamification” and the promotion of an entrepreneurial selfhood is the ideological frame that informs the strategy through which labour value is extracted without payment. Finally, the potential theoretical and political consequences of these insights will be considered.
Societies2014, 4(3), 428-445; doi:10.3390/soc4030428 - published 14 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper presents managerial attempts at implementing telehealthcare. Our longitudinal, ethnographic case studies document both successful and failed implementations across five health and social care organisations in England. We draw on theories of organisational identity, sensemaking and sensegiving to highlight how managerial organisational identities can inhibit the uptake of digital health technologies. Managers who strongly identified with their current role at work felt threatened by the intended change; a telehealthcare mode of care delivery. When a strongly identified workforce agrees with this assessment, managerial and employee sensemaking and sensegiving coalesce, forming a united front of resistance that prevents further adoption of the innovation.
Societies2014, 4(3), 414-427; doi:10.3390/soc4030414 - published 13 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: It is well-known that disadvantaged neighborhoods, as officially identified through census data, harbor higher numbers of delinquent individuals than advantaged neighborhoods. What is much less known is whether parents’ perception of the neighborhood problems predicts low parental engagement with their girls and, ultimately, how this is related to girls’ delinquency, including violence. This paper elucidates these issues by examining data from the Pittsburgh Girls Study, including parent-report of neighborhood problems and level of parental engagement and official records and girl-reported delinquency at ages 15, 16, and 17. Results showed higher stability over time for neighborhood problems and parental engagement than girls’ delinquency. Parents’ perception of their neighborhood affected the extent to which parents engaged in their girls’ lives, but low parental engagement did not predict girls being charged for offending at age 15, 16 or 17. These results were largely replicated for girls’ self-reported delinquency with the exception that low parental engagement at age 16 was predictive of the frequency of girls’ self-reported delinquency at age 17 as well. The results, because of their implications for screening and early interventions, are relevant to policy makers as well as practitioners.
Societies2014, 4(3), 399-413; doi:10.3390/soc4030399 - published 28 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Information and communication technologies are not value-neutral tools that reflect reality; they privilege some forms of action, and they limit others. We analyze reports describing the design, development, testing and evaluation of a European Commission co-funded syndromic surveillance project called SIDARTHa (System for Information on Detection and Analysis of Risks and Threats to Health). We show that the reports construct the concept of a health threat as a sudden, unexpected event with the potential to cause severe harm and one that requires a public health response aided by surveillance. Based on our analysis, we state that when creating surveillance technologies, design choices have consequences for what can be seen and for what remains invisible. Finally, we argue that syndromic surveillance discourse privileges expertise in developing, maintaining and using software within public health practice, and it prioritizes standardized and transportable knowledge over local and context-dependent knowledge. We conclude that syndromic surveillance contributes to a shift in broader public health practice, with consequences for fairness if design choices and prioritizations remain invisible and unchallenged.
Societies2014, 4(3), 380-398; doi:10.3390/soc4030380 - published 28 July 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this article, we present a case study analysis of data gathered on the practice of the art of Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) in one UK context. Our interest in looking at this physical culture was in exploring if/how physical cultures of shared embodied experience and practice may help “sow the seeds of environmental awareness”. In so doing, we illustrate certain affinities between this interpretation of the art and Beck’s idea of a “cosmopolitan vision of ecology”. We present an analysis of documentary and interview data of one English Taijiquan organisation and how it currently promotes the idea of interconnectedness, wellbeing and an alternative meta-narrative for living through the practice of Taijiquan. We conclude that, while further research is needed, there is evidence that a cosmopolitan vision for ecology is emerging in physical cultures such as Taijiquan.
Societies2014, 4(3), 363-379; doi:10.3390/soc4030363 - published 27 June 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The increased representation of minority students on the campuses of predominantly White universities in the United States presents increased opportunities for intercultural contact. Studying dating experiences across racial and ethnic lines has been used to determine the existence of a post-racial America. While most previous research has examined general racial/ethnic and gender differences in intercultural college dating experiences, this study analyzes precollege and college-going friendship diversity and skin tone as factors accounting for romantic distance between racial/ethnic groups among a recent cohort of college students. Hierarchical linear modeling analyses were conducted on a 4-year longitudinal sample of 2804 undergraduate students from 24 colleges and universities. Results confirm that White students continue to be the group most likely to engage in intragroup dating relationships, Latino/a students were the most likely to date interculturally, and that Black men were significantly more likely to date interculturally than Black women. For Black students there were significant within group differences in intercultural dating based on skin tone.