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TESTON, Christa

Special Issue 2016, 46.3, pages 251-268

Rhetoric, Precarity, and mHealth Technologies

Abstract: Wearable technologies in general and mHealth data in particular are championed frequently for ways they afford individual agency and empowerment and promote what the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) calls a “culture of health.” This article complicates such epideictic rhetorics based on results from a situational analysis (Clarke, “Situational Analyses,” Situational Analysis) of the RWJF’s Data for Health listening events, which incorporated panelists from the RWJF, JawBone, Inc., the Quantified Self, and other mHealth technology organizations as well as audience participants who work in community health. Given panelists’ and audiences’ diverging claims about how mHealth data either succeed or fail in creating a culture of health, I mobilize precarity as an analytic construct for critiquing the coexistence of technoscientific progress alongside the persistence of health disparities among vulnerable populations.

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