CfP: Digital Health & Digital Capitalism

Plenary speakers announced:

Nick Fox – Professor of Sociology, The University of Sheffield

‘The micropolitical economy of posthuman health’

Graham Scambler – Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University College London

‘Digital sociology or sociology of the digital? A case study on health.’

This is your last chance to also speak at the event  by submitting your abstract for the Digital Health/Digital Capitalism event (deadline 15 February 2016). More details below.


Digital technologies have had a profound impact on the ways in which people live their lives, relate to one another and think about themselves and their capacities. This event will bring together scholars who are interested in the impacts of the digital on ideas and practices of health and the workings of capitalist economies and how the two come together.

The generation and management of vast amounts of health data has been enabled through digital means. In particular this has enabled fine grained analysis of particular types and groups of people in relation to a diversity of factors. Private and profit making enterprises have become increasingly involved with personal health data through partnerships with health services and the generation of new kinds of data through commercial devices apps and websites.

Digital capitalism has produced new approaches to work and profit generation. Human bodies are now intensively digitised due to the (self) tracking and monitoring conducted by commercial enterprises. New digital ways of working have freed some workers from the office while increasing the amount of time and attention they are expected to dedicate to work tasks and the length of time spent sedentary. The productivity and activity levels of some workers are closely monitored leading to increasing physical and psychological stress.

Questions addressed at this event will include but not be limited to:

  • How has the digital changed the ways in which bodies and health are understood, managed and experienced?
  • How does the management of health data by commercial enterprises (public-private partnerships and sharing and collaborative websites such asPatientsLikeMe) impact on health outcomes and peoples’ engagement with themselves, others and their health and bodies?
  • In what ways are digital technologies affecting work practices which themselves impact on wellbeing, physical and mental health?
  • How has the blurring of work and non-work life through an “always on” digital culture created new health problems and new potential strategies for managing health?
  • What can existing theories tell us about the changes brought about by digital health and digital capitalism? What theoretical innovations are needed?
  • Does the commercial monitoring of health and wellbeing (through areas as diverse as corporate wellness initiatives and telehealth) enable greater freedom and stimulation for healthier lives or intensify surveillance?
  • What potential is there in digital management of health and work for increasing or decreasing existing health inequalities or producing new ones? Will the digital divide transfer to these arenas or be minimised?

If you would like to talk at this one day event please send a title and abstract of no more than 250 words to Chris Till Monday 15th February 2016. Registration will open 1st March.

The event will take place on Monday 4th July, 2016 at Leeds Beckett University.

This BSA Digital Sociology Group and BSA MedSoc Yorkshire event is supported by a grant from Leeds Beckett University.