Digital power: Self-tracking Technologies through Michel Foucault Lens
(Digitálna sila: Technika sebapozorovania očami Michela Foucaulta)
Politické vedy, Volume 22, Number 4/2019, pages 81-101
Recommended form for quotation of the article / Odporúčaná forma citácie článku:
LIFKOVÁ, A. 2019. Digital power: Self-tracking Technologies through Michel Foucault Lens. In Politické vedy. [online]. Vol. 22, No. 4, 2019. ISSN 1335 – 2741, pp. 81-101. Available at: http://doi.org/10.24040/politickevedy.2019.22.4.81-101
From a traditional political perspective, power has always been linked to force, domination, and sovereignty issues. In this article we outline the Foucauldian concept of power, (self) surveillance and the panopticon in relation to digital self-tracking devices. These self-tracking devices are supposedly designed for self-improvement and self-enhancement of an individual. As the new devices come to light, a new frontier of power emerges in the digital sphere – power that is exercised with subtlety and disguised as a voluntary. Self-tracking wearables produce a huge body of information, so that life itself is broken into data. The data claim to represent a body-related knowledge and individuals are expected to live according to this knowledge. In regards to this, we illustrated how the health and corporate sector integrate these wearables into their structures and are able to observe if citizens meet the established health norms. The presence of these devices silently coerces individuals to behave in the way the healthcare and corporate sectors desire. This shows how these sectors expand surveillance practises over the individuals and manifest a certain control over their lives, where health becomes a key mode of biopower by these enterprises.
Key words: Foucault, power, self-tracking technologies, digital health