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Human life as digitised data assemblage: health, wealth and biopower in Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story
  1. Luna Dolezal
  1. Correspondence to Dr Luna Dolezal, Department of Philosophy, Durham University, 50 Old Elvet, Durham City DH1 3HN, UK; luna.dolezal{at}

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With recent and emerging developments in technology, we are witnessing a process of cultural and social redefinition where the foundations of how we understand the body, the human and the parameters of health are being radically transmuted. These changes resonate both across global political discourses and within individuals’ personal lives; they are both intimate and remote affecting broad sociopolitical understandings, and the minutiae of everyday lived experience. At the core of these redefinitions is a scientific and, primarily, biological discourse that reduces all forms of life to the molecular level and that uses a technological metaphorical landscape as its medium.1 Under this techno-biological logic, which has become a dominant discursive frame, the human body, and human life, is increasingly conceived of as an assemblage of data and information flows, genetic and otherwise.2 ,3

The emergence of the conception of life as information over recent decades has coincided with an explosion in information technology. Technologisation has been coupled with a correlative commercialisation, which have both taken place against the backdrop of increased privatisation and the dismantling of the welfare state as a result of the spread of neoliberal doctrines and practices. Commercial tech companies have developed many novel social technologies, based on the paradigm of life as data, which are increasingly available on the free market. For instance, self-tracking technologies, such as the simple iPhone, or fitness gadgets such as FitBit, Bellabeat's LEAF and Nike Fuelband, among others that are worn on the body, quantify physiological states producing biometric data on one's everyday exercise, rest, mood, diet, heart rate and other health information. This fusion of information technology and biomedicine, with a neoliberal market agenda, has transformed the landscape of health, medicine and daily life.i 4 ,5 As the discourses of movements such as the Quantified …

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