In this episode, I talk to Phoebe Moore. Phoebe is a researcher and a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Middlesex University. She teaches International Relations and International Political Economy and has published several books, articles and reports about labour struggle, industrial relations and the impact of technology on workers’ everyday lives. Her current research, funded by a BA/Leverhulme award, focuses on the use of self-tracking devices in companies. She is the author of a book on this topic entitled The Quantified Self in Precarity: Work, Technology and What Counts, which has just been published. We talk about the quantified self movement, the history of workplace surveillance, and a study that Phoebe did on tracking in a Dutch company.
- 0:00 – Introduction
- 1:27 – Origins and Ethos of the Quantified Self Movement
- 7:39 – Does self-tracking promote or alleviate anxiety?
- 10:10 – The importance of gamification
- 13:09 – The history of workplace surveillance (Taylor and the Gilbreths)
- 16:27 – How is workplace quantification different now?
- 20:26 – The Agility Agenda: Workplace surveillance in an age of precarity
- 29:09 – Tracking affective/emotional labour
- 34:08 – Getting the opportunity to study the quantified worker in the field
- 38:18 – Can such workplace self-tracking exercises ever be truly voluntary?
- 41:05 – What were the key findings of the study?
- 46:07 – Why was there such a high drop-out rate?
- 49:37 – Did workplace tracking lead to increased competitiveness?
- 53:32 – Should we welcome or resist the quantified worker phenomenon?
- Phoebe’s Webpage
- The book: The Quantified Self in Precarity: Work, Technology and What Counts
- The Quantified Self Movement Homepage
- ‘Regulating Well-Being in the Brave New Quantified Workplace’ by Phoebe Moore and Lukasz Piwek
- ‘The Quantified Self: What Counts in the Neoliberal Workplace‘ by Phoebe Moore and Andrew Robinson
- Previous interview with Deborah Lupton about her work on the quantified self