Beyond the Quantified Self: Thematic exploration of a dataistic paradigm

Minna Ruckenstein and Mika Pantzar in New Media and Society: “This article investigates the metaphor of the Quantified Self (QS) as it is presented in the magazine Wired (2008–2012). Four interrelated themes—transparency, optimization, feedback loop, and biohacking—are identified as formative in defining a new numerical self and promoting a dataist paradigm. Wired captures certain interests and desires with the QS metaphor, while ignoring and downplaying others, suggesting that the QS positions self-tracking devices and applications as interfaces that energize technological engagements, thereby pushing us to rethink life in a data-driven manner. The thematic analysis of the QS is treated as a schematic aid for raising critical questions about self-quantification, for instance, detecting the merging of epistemological claims, technological devices, and market-making efforts. From this perspective, another definition of the QS emerges: a knowledge system that remains flexible in its aims and can be used as a resource for epistemological inquiry and in the formation of alternative paradigms….(More)”