Self Design

Conceptions of the Self in Digital Cultures

This research project argues that the knowledge of the self in digital cultures surprisingly often refers to formats and technologies which originally appeared in the fields of criminology and psychiatry. Today, we all foster our numerous personal or academic “profiles”; we use tracking services on the smartphone to find a cab, a meal or a partner; we measure our steps and our bodily functions via health apps and wristbands. But one should not forget: Until 25 years ago, only serial killers and lunatics were the object of a “profile”, and tracking or measurement technologies were applied predominantly to convict a suspect of a criminal act. So what does it mean that the digital self obtains its sovereignty and self empowerment through methods which were, from the end of the 19th to the late 20th century, reserved to the access of deviant subjects (by the state, the police or the hospital)? The research project tries to follow up this question.


  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Bernard