Datafication

The term “datafication” was introduced by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier(1). In their view, the “datafication of everything” describes the tendency to translate all aspects of life into quantifiable data. This concept is also used in discussions about health, with some(2; 3) arguing that digitally collected and stored data is becoming increasingly important. One of the outcomes is that once body-related data becomes digitalised, this data generated in ‘private’ practices of self-tracking is suddenly out of reach of those who generated them and thus belong to commercial entities (such as mHealth apps) or governmental organizations. Some argue that in this process, users serve as mere ‘data sources’ who perform unpaid and invisible work while having no control over the data they create(2).

  1. Mayer-Schönberger, V., Cukier, K., & Mayer-Schönberger, V. C. (2013). Big Data: Die Revolution, die unser Leben verändern wird. München: Redline Verlag.
  2. Ruckenstein, M., & Dow Schüll, N. (2016). The Datafication of Health. Annual Review of Anthropology, 46, 1–18.
  3. Lupton, D. (2016): You are Your Data: Self-tracking Practices and Concepts of Data. In: Selke, S. (Eds..): Lifelogging. Digital self-tracking and Lifelogging – between disruptive technology and cultural transformation. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 61-79.
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