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From self-tracking to self expertise: The production of self-related knowledge by doing personal science

: Heyen, Nils B.

Fulltext urn:nbn:de:0011-n-5693891 (136 KByte PDF)
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Created on: 18.12.2019

Public understanding of science 29 (2020), No.2, pp.124-138
ISSN: 0963-6625
ISSN: 1361-6609
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer ISI ()
citizen science; knowledge production; lay expertise; public engagement; Quantified Self; Self-Tracking

This article explores the production and type of knowledge acquired in the course of specific digital selftracking activities that resemble research and are common among followers of the Quantified Self movement. On the basis of interviews with self-trackers, it is shown that this knowledge can be characterised as a verified and practical self-knowledge, and that science in the form of scientific sources, methods and quality criteria plays a key role in its production. It is argued that this self-related knowledge can be conceptualised as self-expertise, and its production as personal science. The article then discusses the implications for the science-society relationship. In contrast to self-tracking data, so far self-knowledge has hardly caused any resonance in science, although science currently appears open to the insights from single subject (N-of-1) research. As a new mode of public engagement with science, personal science instead mainly leads to an individual self-expertisation.