Personal health technologies, micropolitics and resistance: A new materialist analysis

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53 Citations (Scopus)


Personal health technologies are near-body devices or applications designed for use by a single individual, principally outside healthcare facilities. They enable users to monitor physiological processes or body activity, are frequently communication-enabled and sometimes also intervene therapeutically. This article explores a range of personal health technologies, from blood pressure or blood glucose monitors purchased in pharmacies and fitness monitors such as Fitbit and Nike+ Fuelband to drug pumps and implantable medical devices. It applies a new materialist analysis, first reverse engineering a range of personal health technologies to explore their micropolitics and then forward engineering personal health technologies to meet, variously, public health, corporate, patient and resisting-citizen agendas. This article concludes with a critical discussion of personal health technologies and the possibilities of designing devices and apps that might foster subversive micropolitics and encourage collective and resisting ‘citizen health’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-153
Number of pages18
JournalHealth (United Kingdom)
Issue number2
Early online date27 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


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