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Ph.D. Defence: Marjolein Lanzing ’The Transparent Self: a normative investigation of changing selves and relationships in the age of the quantified self

December 11, 2019 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

On Wednesday December 11th at 11:00 (location: Atlas Building, Room 0.710, TU Eindhoven) Marjolein will be defending her thesis ‘The Transparent Self: a normative investigation of changing selves and relationships in the age of the quantified self’.


Self-tracking, the quantification of one’s body and behaviour through the use of wearables and apps, has become a popular practice. Self-tracking is celebrated as ‘empowering’, as a means to improve one’s self-management and the management of one’s social relationships. At the same time, self-tracking also raises concerns from the perspective of autonomy. Self-tracking technologies feature surveillance, quantification and behavioural steering. Importantly, these features are driven by commercial motives because the most widely used technologies are produced by commercial enterprises. While self-tracking may empower users in some respects, it may undermine their autonomy when these features involve violations of privacy, harmful commodification and manipulation. This book explores and applies four different perspectives – informational privacy, decisional privacy, manipulation and commodification – to interpret and evaluate practices of commercial self-tracking that involve quantification, surveillance and behavioural steering. In doing so, it contributes to the conceptual toolbox for an ethical evaluation of the diverse phenomena involved in the practice of self-tracking. It investigates to what extent these practices contribute to or undermine an agent’s capacity to live an autonomous and flourishing life. This book promotes a relational perspective for evaluating the latter by taking relational theories of privacy and autonomy as its starting point. Contrary to what the term suggests, self-tracking is not an isolated practice that solely changes how we understand and control ourselves, but a practice that also changes our capacity for developing social relationships, which is important for living an autonomous life.


You’re all very much invited to come over to Eindhoven! The defence is followed by a reception.

If you’d like to attend the defence and reception afterwards, please contact the paranymphs: Eveline Groot and Naomi Jacobs, whom you can also contact in case you have any questions at this email address

Digital copies of the dissertation will be available from 25th November, hard copies will be distributed at the defence.


December 11, 2019
11:00 am - 12:00 pm


Technical University of Eindhoven
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