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Laboring Bodies and the Quantified Self

Cite this publication as

Regina Schober(Hg.), Ulfried Reichardt(Hg.), Laboring Bodies and the Quantified Self (2020), transcript Verlag, Bielefeld, ISBN: 9783839449219

Tracked since 05/2018


Description / Abstract

The body has become central to practices of self-tracking. By focusing on the relations between quantification, the body, and labor, this volume sheds light on the ways in which discourses on data collection and versions of the ›corporate self‹ are instrumental in redefining concepts of labor, including notions of immaterial and free labor in an increasingly virtual work environment. The contributions explore the functions of quantification in conceptualizing the body as a laboring body and examine how quantification contributes to disciplining the body. By doing so, they also inquire how practices of self-tracking, self-monitoring, and self-optimization have evolved historically.


Ulfried Reichardt (Prof. Dr.), born in 1956, teaches American literature and culture at the University of Mannheim. He was principal investigator of the research project »Probing the Limits of the Quantified Self« as well as founder and speaker of the graduate school »Formations of the Global«. His research also focuses on American philosophy and music as well as the uses of time in literature.
Regina Schober (Prof. Dr.), born in 1980, teaches American studies at the Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf. She received her dissertation from the University of Hannover in 2009 and her habilitation from the University of Mannheim in 2019. Her research focuses on literary conceptions of networks, data fiction, and the intersections of failure and knowledge. With Ulfried Reichardt, she was principal investigator of the research project »Probing the Limits of the Quantified Self«.

Table of content

  • Cover
  • Contents
  • Introduction: Laboring Bodies and the Quantified Self
  • Command and Control: The Quantified Self and Biomedical Transhumanism
  • Reconsidering Agency and Choice: The Office, the Wall, and the Tax Code (Herman Melville, "Bartleby" and David Foster Wallace, The Pale King)
  • "To Be Reckoned in the Gross": Corporate Storytelling and Quantified Selves in Joshua Ferris's Then We Came to the End
  • Racialized Self-Improvement: Advice in Black and White Self-Help of the Interwar Years
  • The Solipsism of the Quantified Self: Working Bodies in David Foster Wallace's Body of Work
  • Reading Chick Lit through Numbers: Postfeminist Self-Quantification in Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary and Karyn Bosnak's Wha's Your Number?
  • "I Track my Cycle Religiously": Representations of Fertility Tracking and Childlessness in Contemporary Graphic Memoirs
  • Compulsive Self-Tracking: When Quantifying the Body Becomes an Addiction
  • The Portable Peoplemeter Initiative: Wearable Sensor Technologies and Embodied Labor
  • Instant Nerve-Ana: Biofeedback as Quantified Self Avant la Lettre
  • Contributors

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