Kate and Catherine recently participated in a “book sprint”, as part of an ESRC Seminar Series called ‘New Practices for New Publics‘.
This was an innovative series of events designed to bring together cutting edge thinking in social science, drawing on theories of social practice, with the experiences of civil society organisations, especially those in the community and voluntary sector. The series explored what these organisations ‘do’ – attending to the complexities of everyday work in fields including health, education, social care, housing and other community action.
The book sprint was aimed at condensing some of the themes and work which emerged from the seminar series, and acted as a collective and collaborative approach to book writing, where everyone writes, edits and redrafts what emerges during a week period.
The final product of the book sprint – New Practices for New Publics? Theories of social practice and the voluntary and community sector – is available for download here.
You can follow tweets from the book sprint on twitter or learn more about the writing concept at book sprint’s website.
Participation in the seminar series and book sprint has helped to shape and develop our thinking about theories of social practice, providing ideas about everyday practice that will inform the tracking project.
We’ve released a document that offers a brief summary of the pilot research that will be used to help shape Tracking Ourselves?
In it, you can learn more about the pilot research methods and some of the initial findings that are guiding our thinking as we begin the research for this project.
You can also find a list of dissemination activities in the document – these are also reproduced on our output page, where we have uploaded material used in any presentations.
The download is available via this link, but you can also access it through both our Resources and Outputs pages.
Catherine from the Tracking Ourselves? project is also involved in the Cost of Living website, which published short pieces that focus broadly on the politics, economics and sociology of health and health care. Below is some of a piece she and Kate Weiner, also in the team, wrote for Cost of Living on technology for self-monitoring. You can read the whole piece here.
Health and fitness tracking is all the rage. You want to keep track of your weight or count calories? There are apps for that. The NHS even offers an app ‘to track the whole family’s BMI over time.’ Through using these personal digital devices we can all learn to monitor our behavior. This in turn can motivate us to make and maintain changes to prevent disease, and improving our health by sharing data with friends (see the recent BBC documentary, Monitor Me).
In some ways this narrative is persuasive. Personal computing has changed the way we live and work, and the spread of smart phones has been rapid. People now hold enormous analytic power in their hands many times a day. But we have some doubts about the extent to which people are happy to monitor themselves in this way.
We’ve been researching consumers of the cholesterol lowering drugs, statins, and of so-called functional foods that contain plant sterols, like Benecol and Flora proactiv, for a few years now. Respondents in our research were from a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Their views suggest a strong reluctance to engage in the kinds of activity that are involved in digital health tracking.
— you can read the full blog post on the Cost of Living website