Publications
Day S., Lury, C.

Quantified: Biosensing Technologies in Everyday Life, 2016

This chapter argues that tracking involves an increasingly significant and diverse set of techniques in relation to the ongoing transformation of relations between observer and observed, and between observers. These developments include not only the proliferation of individual sensing devices associated with a growing variety of platforms, but also the emergence of new data infrastructures that pool, scale, and link data in ways that promote their repurposing. By means of examples ranging from genes and currencies to social media and the disappearance of an airplane, it is suggested that practices of tracking are creating new public-private distinctions in the dynamic problem space resulting from the analytics that pattern these data. These new distinctions are linked to changing forms of personhood and changing relations between market and state, economy and society.

Day, Sophie E. and Lury, Celia. 2016. Biosensing: Tracking Persons. In: Dawn Nafus, ed. Quantified: Biosensing Technologies in Everyday Life. Cambridge MA: MIT Press, pp. 43-66. ISBN 978-0-262-52875-7 [Book Section]

Day, S., Coombes, R. C., McGrath-Lone, L., Schoenborn, C., Ward, H.

Sociology of Health and Illness, 2016

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We conducted ethnographic research in collaboration with a large research-intensive London breast cancer service in 2013-14 so as to understand the practices and potential effects of stratified medicine. Stratified medicine is often seen as a synonym for both personalised and precision medicine but these three terms, we found, also related to distinct facets of treatment and care. Personalised medicine is the term adopted for the developing 2016 NHS England Strategy, in which breast cancer care is considered a prime example of improved biological precision and better patient outcomes. We asked how this biologically stratified medicine affected wider relations of care and treatment. We interviewed formally 33 patients and 23 of their carers, including healthcare workers; attended meetings associated with service improvements, medical decision-making, public engagement, and scientific developments as well as following patients through waiting rooms, clinical consultations and other settings. We found that the translation of new protocols based on biological research introduced further complications into an already-complex patient pathway. Combinations of new and historic forms of stratification had an impact on almost all patients, carers and staff, resulting in care that often felt less rather than more personal.

Day, Sophie E.; Coombes, R. Charles; McGrath-Lone, Louise; Schoenborn, Claudia and Ward, Helen (2016) Stratified, precision or personalised medicine? Cancer services in the “real world” of a London hospital. Sociology of Health and Illness, 38(8), ISSN 0141-9889

Day, S., Lury, C.

Theory, Culture & Society, 2017

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This article explores two examples of non-visibility as a way of describing the specificity of contemporary surfaces of visualization. The two cases are the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the scheduled passenger flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, which lost contact with air traffic control on 8 March 2014 at 01:20 MYT, and the 276 Nigerian girls who went ‘missing’ at about the same time. The analysis is developed through an exploration of these examples in terms of the patterning of vision produced in recursive relations, or relations of feedback with the environment. We argue that changes in the organization of this feedback, which we describe as ‘rendition’, equip contemporary observers with both the capacity to see ‘close up at a distance’ and the capacity to be situated adjacent, next to or ‘beside from above’.

Day, S. and Lury, C. (2017) ‘New Technologies of the Observer: #BringBack, Visualization and Disappearance’, Theory, Culture & Society, 34(7–8), pp. 51–74. doi: 10.1177/0263276417736586.

Lury, C., Day, S.

Theory, Culture and Society, 2019

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Recognising that many of the modern categories with which we think about people and their activities were put in place through the use of numbers, we ask how numbering practices compose contemporary sociality. Focusing on particular forms of algorithmic personalisation, we describe a pathway of a-typical individuation in which repeated and recursive tracking is used to create partial orders in which individuals are always more and less than one. Algorithmic personalisation describes a mode of numbering that involves forms of de- and re- aggregating, in which a variety of contexts are continually included and excluded. This pathway of a-typical individuation is important, we suggest, to a variety of domains and, more broadly, to an understanding of contemporary economies of sharing where the politics of collectivities, ownership and use are being reconfigured as a default social.

Lury, C. and Day, S. (2019) Algorithmic personalisation as a mode of individuation. Theory, Culture and Society, ISSN 02632764 [Article] 

Johnstone, F., Imber, K.

Anti-Portraiture: Challenging the Limits of the Portrait is the first collection of essays to explore portraits that contest and transcend the established conventions of their genre. In the disciplines of art history and visual culture the portrait is typically understood as an artistic representation of a unique human subject: scholarly emphasis is placed on the significance of visual and psychological likeness, or on the expression of personal, familial or social identity. Significantly, the very notion of the ‘human subject’ has been actively shaped by historical portrait practices, with the traditional portrait strongly associated with the self-determining, privileged individual of Western modernity. While recent scholarship in the humanities and social sciences has responded to the complexities of contemporary subjectivity with new conceptual models, theorizations of the portrait have largely failed to keep pace.

Examining works in a range of media including sculpture, photography, installation, and sound art, this collection of essays makes the case for an expanded definition of portraiture, and presents fresh paradigms for thinking about subjectivity, embodiment and representation. Offering a timely reappraisal of the terms through which portraiture is conventionally approached, Anti-Portraitureaims to shape future academic debate and influence curatorial practices and institutional acquisition policies.

Johnstone, F. and Imber, K. (eds) (2019) Anti-Portraiture: Challenging the Limits of the Portrait, London, IB Tauris, 2019. ISBN: 9781784534127.