CFP: Articles for the Special Section on “Self-Tracking, Embodied Differences and the Politics and Ethics of Health” for the open access feminist STS journal Catalyst

Closing Date for Abstracts: August 31, 2019

CFP: Articles for inclusion in the Special Section on “Self-Tracking, Embodied Differences and the Politics and Ethics of Health” for the open access feminist STS journal Catalyst. 

Editors: Venla Oikkonen (Tampere University, Finland) and Luna Dolezal (University of Exeter, UK)

The twenty-first century has been marked by an increasing number of (bio)technologies that enable intimate and continuous monitoring of bodies in the name of health and well-being. Such technologies include smart wristbands, mood tracking apps, genetic tests, ovulation apps, and tests designed for self-monitoring chronic illness. These technologies are frequently commercial, developed and implemented under neoliberal paradigms, marking not only the increased technologization of medicine but also the encroachment of markets, along with an increased emphasis on individual responsibility, within health care. Self-tracking technologies are loaded with normative assumptions regarding health, ability, gender, race, sexuality, and class. As such, there is a lot at stake for feminist analyses of health and medicine when considering the role these technologies play within the socio-political dimensions of contemporary healthcare landscape, both in the enabling and disrupting of normative expectations about embodiment and health. This Special Section approaches self-tracking as a biopolitical (re)orientation toward the interiority of bodies in the context of increasingly commercialized health care. While a rapidly growing research literature has emerged around self-tracking and the “quantified self” movement, less attention has been paid to the role of gender, race, sex, disability, class and migration in practices and imaginaries of self-tracking. Our Special Section explores self-tracking from explicitly feminist and intersectional perspectives. We ask how self-tracking technologies and techniques are used, reshaped, or resisted by users and communities situated differently within social structures of power. We seek to bring together new research that creatively explores and engages in collective responses to these increasingly individualizing, neoliberal technologies of the self.

We welcome research articles that address one or several of the following questions:

  • How do gender, race, disability, and class shape heterogeneous engagements with and experiences of self-tracking technologies? When and where may creative or unanticipated uses of self-tracking technologies emerge, and what are their political implications?
  • How are self-tracking technologies situated in the larger dynamics of societal change, such as changes in the gendered and racialized responsibilities for care, or the neoliberal restructuring of medicine and public health?
  • How do self-tracking technologies articulate or emerge through global,colonial, military and postcolonial power hierarchies, and in what global and local contexts do they make sense as ways of managing health and well-being?
  • What gaps emerge between the expected and actual users of self-tracking technologies? To what extent can self-tracking technologies incorporate embodied gendered, racialized or classed differences?
  • What happens to ideas of risk, health or responsibility when self-tracking is used to manage chronic illness, disabilities, infertility, or mental health?
  • What kinds of feminist methods need to be developed to critically explore and unpack the socio-political logics and implications of self-tracking?

Please send abstracts (400-500 words) by August 31, 2019 to the editors Venla Oikkonen ( and Luna Dolezal ( Invitations to submit full papers will be sent to the authors by October 30, 2019. Full papers (max. 7000 words including references, and prepared according to the Catalyst author guidelines) are due March 31, 2020.  All articles will go through the standard peer review process. The Special Section is scheduled to be published in the Fall 2021 issue.

You can find the full Call For Papers here:

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