‘The Sense of Data and the Data of Sense', ISA World Congress, Melbourne [Deadline Sept 29]

deadline for submissions: 
September 29, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Mark Paterson, University of Pittsburgh
contact email: 

This CFP might be of interest to some on the list. The panel is part of ISA Thematic Group TG07 ‘The Senses and Society’. This panel was accepted for the previous International Sociological Association (ISA) meeting in Brazil, 2020, which was cancelled. It is now being re-advertised for the next meeting in Melbourne.

‘The Sense of Data and the Data of Sense: Bodies, Technologies, Spaces’

Panel for International Sociological Association (ISA) World Congress in Melbourne, Australia. June 25-July 1 2023

How are bodily sensations, movements, and emotion displays entering into the digital surveillance economy? Since Andrejevic and Burdon’s 2015 paper on the ‘sensor society’, with its warning of the “growing array of networked digital devices”  that “passively collect enormous amounts of data” (2015:19), we are becoming accustomed to a tide of revelations concerning the darker side of digital surveillance and the ‘Quantified Self’ movement. The technical infrastructure that facilitates the monitoring of bodies encompasses the spaces of work, leisure, and the home, and includes embedded sensors, geolocation tracking, and face recognition technologies. In parallel with so-called ‘smart cities’, with their allure of convenience and control for citizens, are stealthier and potentially coercive forms of surveillance such as infra-red monitoring of consumer behaviors in stores and malls, the surveillance of physiological indicators of stress and productivity in offices, and the tracking of workers’ bodily movements within factories, warehouses, and distribution centers (e.g. Altenreid's The Digital Factory, 2022).

What is the future of work and play as we increasingly reside within larger ecologies of sensors, and robotic and autonomous systems? What historical forces and developments have allowed these infrastructures to flourish?

The panel welcomes papers that engage either conceptually or empirically with the intersection of technologies, senses, and spaces. Areas might include: sensor societies; Zuboff and surveillance capitalism; bodies and interfaces; human-robot interactions; ‘aesthetic’ encounters; Smart cities and architectures; the ‘Quantified Self’ (QS) movement, and the availability of biometric data collection in everyday life (e.g. FitBit, Nike+, Strava, Apple Health).

By all means contact me if interested. Abstract (300 words max) submission is online through the Confex system, instructions are here. Deadline for abstract submission is September 29 (I will have to approve them in the system by September 30).