Nicole Zillien, Nico Wettmann & Frederik Peper: Sleep Experiments. Knowledge Production through Self-Tracking. [Abstract]

Scientific knowledge is a central point of reference for almost all everyday activities – and at the same time, it is doubted more than ever. People who suffer from sleep problems, for example, thus often lack clear instructions because the scientific findings on the subject are fragile and contradictory. Against this background, we treat the digital self-tracking of expertized laypersons as an experimental practice undertaken to reduce uncertainty. Our online ethnography suggests that self-tracking involves at least three prerequisites to reduce uncertainty in everyday life. First, such self-tracking requires, in its interplay of objectivity and subjectivity, a willingness to engage in tinkering and tuning. Second, corresponding arrangements involve a specific form of temporality, continuously linking the past to an open future. And third, through grafting, a continuous expansion of self-tracking arrangements takes place, ultimately leading to a form of knowledge-in-the-making that relates to science but works in everyday life.

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