Tag: biomarkers

Moving Beyond Doping Scandals: Toward an Anthropology of Science, Technology and Performance

One of the many things I appreciate about anthropology is that we ask big questions like “What makes us human?” and “What does it mean to be human?” Whatever our specific research topic, no matter how narrow it may seem, we reflect on the connection our research has with these big questions. In this blog, I’d like to do just this in connection to my latest research interest: science, technology, and performance. This topic is a major departure from my previous research on Islam and science, but quite closely connected to cycling which has been a part of my life for three decades, longer than anthropology or STS. My training in the anthropology of science, technology, and medicine gives me an interesting perspective on cycling and especially the doping scandals that have plagued cycling and sport in general in recent decades. While journalists focus on specific details like who took (read more...)

The Quantified Self Movement is not a Kleenex

by Dawn Nafus and Jamie Sherman The Quantified Self (QS) is a global movement of people who numerically track their bodies.  If you were to read popular press accounts like this, this and this, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was a self-absorbed technical elite who used arsenals of gadgets to enact a kind of self-imposed panopticon, generating data for data’s sake. Articles like this could easily make us believe that this group unquestioningly accepts the authority of numerical data in all circumstances (a myth nicely debunked here). Kanyi Maqubela sees a lack of diversity in “the quantified self.”  On one hand, he is absolutely right to say that developing technologies to get upper middle class people who do yoga and shop at farmers markets to “control their behavior” is a spectacular misrecognition of the actual social problem at hand, and one that can be attributed directly to (read more...)