“People Like You”: Contemporary Figures of Personalisation is a collaborative, interdisciplinary project that is exploring emergent practices of personalisation in medicine, digital culture, and data science. We argue that during the past decade innovations in recommendation, targeted commercial services, new practices of self- and collective-representation invite us to receive personalised care and education services, post selfies, and travel on trains and planes at personalised prices. This panel will show how emerging conceptions of the person increasingly resemble a statistical ensemble of correlations rather anything an individual might recognize as him or herself. If this is the case, then we must ask what sort of ‘person’ is being engineered and what forms of personification are being deployed to make these practices possible. Market institutions now rival the state in their use of actuarial techniques to track, sort and classify individuals with an increasing variety of forms of participation, supplementing established practices of surveillance. At the same time, with its paradigmatic address to ‘people like you’, personalising practices are part of a politics of representation – one in which the similarities and differences established between individuals is at issue. This panel will discuss how emergent practices of personalisation and personification interact in commercial, digital and medical cultures.
Personification Across Disciplines: An Interdisciplinary Conference at Durham University