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Sensors, measurement ans reflexivities : on body monitoring

Abstract : This paper stems from a sociological research conducted in a scientific and technological centre located in Grenoble, France (MINATEC, CEA) , specially within laboratories working on micro and nanoelectronics technical systems developments. We are concerned about how emerging technologies, especially in the field of monitoring and wearable technologies, lead to new interactions between human being, body and the socio-technical environment. Our research has investigated two experimental situations developed by engineers : the first one concerns a physical monitoring device based on motion capture for epileptic people ; the second one gets on a physiological measurement system for body temperature. The analysis develops a micro-sociology of interactions between heterogeneous “hybrid collectif” (Callon & Law 1995; Latour 2006) leading to a renewed qualification of the body. Referring to pragmatic approaches, we suggest a symmetrical conceptualization of the notion of “sensor” : “sensor” symmetrically qualifies any hybrid collectif formed by material and sensible equipment attached to human being, and actively involved in measuring body state and movment. In this acceptation, each sensor conveys a « sensitivity » in producing a bodily activity measure. This approach allows us to consider the coexistence and the interference of variable way of enacting the body in the experimental situation (Mol & Law, 2004), thus constructing human « multiplicity » (Bowker & Star, 2000). Our description accounts the way in which different sensor systems and measurement machine meet and build reflexivity. Our research design is based an ethnographical study of research and engineering activities. It combines intensive observations of the experimental situations with interviews of its whole participants, engineers and subjects (family, patient, subject of testing, etc.).
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Contributor : Pascale Trompette <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 12:19:07 PM
Last modification on : Friday, November 20, 2020 - 11:16:08 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00484330, version 1




Julien Soler, Pascale Trompette. Sensors, measurement ans reflexivities : on body monitoring. Objects - What Matters? Technology, Value and Social Change, Sep 2009, Manchester, United Kingdom. ⟨halshs-00484330⟩



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