Article ID: CBB055576627

Measurement, self-tracking and the history of science: An introduction (2020)


This article introduces the papers contained in this special issue and explores a new field of interest in the history of science: that of measurement and self-making. In this special issue, we aim to show that a focus on self-tracking and individualized measurement provides insight into the ways technologies of quantification, when applied to individual bodies and selves, have introduced new notions of autonomy, responsibility, citizenship, and the possibility of self-improvement and life-course decisions. This introduction is an exploratory history of measurement and self-making, and it provides a discussion of self-tracking in the past as part of the genealogy of present-day digital self-tracking technologies. It concludes that a focus on measurement and self-making highlights the relationship between measurement and morality, the making of the ideal of an autonomous self, capable of improvement, and the relationship between autonomy and surveillance.

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Authors & Contributors
Klein, Judy L.
Morgan, Mary S.
Porter, Theodore M.
Maas, Harro
Crosby, Alfred W.
Nikolow, Sybilla
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
American Historical Review
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Public Understanding of Science
Physics in Perspective
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Duke University Press
Zone Books
Lexington Books
Berghahn Books
Princeton University
MIT Press
Science and society
Science and politics
Cold War
Kinsey, Alfred C.
Jevons, William Stanley
Tausk, Klaus
Rosenfeld, Léon
Wigner, Eugene Paul
Darwin, Charles Robert
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
20th century, early
20th century, late
14th century
United States
Geneva (Switzerland)
Convention du mètre (1875)
United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

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