Research Seminar – Burdens, Investments, Crises: Data Practices in Workplace Wellness Programs

We’re delighted Karen McEwen is with us at the DJL this semester. She’ll be presenting her work on self-tracking data and practices in emerging life and health insurance programs on Oct. 16 as part of the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Culture’s research seminar series.

All welcome!

Title: Burdens, Investments, Crises: Data Practices in Workplace Wellness Programs

Abstract: In recent years, self-tracking practices – the use of wearable devices and personal data-gathering apps – have increasingly been incorporated into workplace wellness programs (WWPs). Within these programs, self-tracking data is taken up as an opportunity to measure and evaluate employees’ health. Drawing on frameworks from critical data studies and science and technology studies, this presentation considers how WWPs’ data infrastructures conceive of and measure the financial value of ‘healthy lifestyles.’ The presentation also critically analyses how these programs use data to frame health as a site of investment for employers, how their data practices impact understandings of employees’ worth, and how they apply actuarial logic to increasingly broad areas of workplace life.

Bio: Karen Dewart McEwen is a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation examines the incorporation of self-tracking data into insurance and workplace wellness programs. Her doctoral research is funded by a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship. She is currently a visiting PhD Student at Cardiff University’s Data Justice Lab.

Date and Location: October 16
16:00 – 17:30
1.10A, 2 Central Square, Cardiff, CF10 1FS

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