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Self Tracking
Venture Labor
Surviving the New Economy

Disruption and the Political Economy of Biosensor Data

Science and Technology Studies has long held that the frames and definitions designers give to new tools matter enormously for how users initially receive and ultimately modify those tools. Discourses are powerful forces in technology design, shaping, for instance, how gender and racial inequalities get designed into technologies. The startups working in biosensing and self-tracking present a case to examine the role that power plays in the discursive process of framing new technologies.

Fiore-Gartland, Brittany, and Gina Neff. “Disruption and the Political Economy of Biosensor Data.” In Quantified: Biosensing Technologies in Everyday Life, 101. Cambridge  MA: MIT Press, 2016. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=9nGyDAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA101&dq=info:n2klnLRIazgJ:scholar.google.com&ots=AVL94uTQ65&sig=L_F79gc4inLQ1Vc4scgei9JhOjY.

Materiality: Challenges to Communication Theory

Increasingly, communication researchers are issuing calls for attention to the role materiality plays in communication processes (e.g., Boczkowski, 2004; Boczkowski & Lievrouw, 2008; Leonardi & Barley, 2008; Leonardi, Nardi, & Kallinikos, 2013; Lievrouw, 2013). Resulting in part from the challenges of studying new communication and information technologies, this new focus on materiality offers opportunities for communication researchers to theorize beyond communication through, with, and, in some cases, without a medium to think about the material structures of mediation itself. In this chapter we propose a model for thinking through the communicative roles and functions of the materiality of everyday objects, by using one type of objects, documents, as an extended theoretical example of the importance of materiality for communication.


Neff, Gina, Brittany Fiore-Silfvast and Carrie Sturts Dossick. “Materiality: Challenges to Communication Theory,” International Communication Association Theme Book 2013: Challenging Communication Research. New York: Peter Lang, 2014. Pp 209-224.

The Lure of Risk: Surviving and Welcoming Uncertainty in the New Economy

The new economy made risk and risk taking desirable, and this is one of its enduring social consequences. After decades of growing concern with job security, downsizing, and corporate cutbacks, the lure of risk during the dot-com boom made the lack of security seem like a choice—and a good one at that for those working in the potentially lucrative technology industry. The lure of risk—and by this I mean the idea of taking chances—has replaced the fear of uncertainty as the predominant economic rhetoric for the new economy. This shift was subtle, but important as risk and risk taking in economic life now imply active choices while uncertainty connotes economic passivity and forces beyond one’s own control. For high-tech firms and start-up Internet companies, skyrocketing stock prices during the late 1990s gave risk the shiny luster of potential wealth for employees, justifying in individual terms both the profits and losses that came with the stock market crash in 2000.

Link To Full Chapter.

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