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QuantifiedBiosensing Technologies in Everyday Life$
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Dawn Nafus

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034173

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034173.001.0001

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Disruption and the Political Economy of Biosensor Data

Disruption and the Political Economy of Biosensor Data

(p.101) 6 Disruption and the Political Economy of Biosensor Data

Brittany Fiore-Gartland

Gina Neff

The MIT Press

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. One frame often used for defining new data tools and services include “disruption,” or the perceived ability of technologies to upend the status quo of power within established industries or social institutions. In this chapter we present research findings on the start-up environment in consumer wellness and the more closely regulated field of mobile medical applications. We use two cases of health data innovation to show how discourses might affect how people design and use new technologies. The disruption discourse limits the possibilities for people to imagine technologies bridging existing social contexts and categories. Disruption limits such vision by overlooking the distinct roles for, and relationships around, data as it moves across contexts. Disruption helps to reproduce existing discourses of institutional power, even as it purports to change, replace, or disrupt those same power arrangements.

Keywords:   Disruption, Regulation, Innovation, Biosensing, Data, Discourse, Industry

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