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Step-counting: The anatomo- and chrono-politics of pedometrics

Step-counting: The anatomo- and chrono-politics of pedometrics

Abstract

Introduction He who walks down the street, over there, is immersed in the multiplicity of noises, murmurs, rhythms (including those of the body, but does he pay attention, except at the moment of crossing the street, when he has to calculate roughly the number of his steps?). Henri Lefebvre, Rhythmanlaysis This paper considers the rhythms of human ambulation within industrialized cultures, and begins by exploring how the coordinates of health inscribe many of the meanings, experiences, and practices of walking. It proceeds then to address the way in which this nexus (walking and health) is mediated and informed by the popular(ized) use of the seemingly innocuous pedometer/accelerometer. I argue that this technological device is intimately related to the current recommendations for moderate and habitual exercise, and moreover that it actively participates in the shaping of temporal rhythms in everyday life. This paper will briefly historicize walking; situate it within urban culture and health regimes - framed either as bio-politics and healthism, or as anatomo-politics and governmentality - before deploying the insights of actor-network theory (ANT) and Bruno Latour to illuminate the broader material and relational contours of ambulation. This symmetrical approach seeks to demonstrate how the pedometer extends
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