• Ellen Algera


Scholars have criticised reproductive self-tracking software applications (apps) for reducing embodied experiences to objective quantifications and leading to user self-alienation. Building on scholarly work that underscores the sensory and affective dimension of self-tracking, this ethnographic study explores how users of contraceptive self-tracking apps come to know their bodies during their everyday tracking practices. By relating tracking data to embodied experiences and relating their experiences back to the data, users produce knowledge of their own lived hormonal physiology. Users learn to articulate how their body feels and acts, foregrounding their body as an instrument of knowing alongside technical devices used. Users also articulate how their body is affected by everyday factors such as personal behaviours, diet, sleep and stress, thereby enacting what I call situated health. By foregrounding people’s sensory and affective engagements with their data and their bodies through self-tracking, this study contributes to understanding how reproductive self-tracking may be meaningful to users as well as encourages a move beyond the hierarchical opposition between ‘objective’ numerical data and embodied, lived experiences.