Ben Lyall

PhD candidate, sessional, research associate
Melbourne
My PhD project at Monash builds on my previous work - focused on the roles of digital technology in daily life. It explores on how people ‘self-track’ using wearable devices (Fitbit etc.) in their everyday lives. The project employs an innovative mixed-methods approach to researching this topic. The project situates wearable devices not just as ‘fitness tracker’, ‘health surveillance’ or ‘gadget’, but as deeply intimate technologies that come to mediate social experiences. Equally intimate are the visual elements that wearable devices generate – graphs and logs of daily movement. These contain unique meanings for every individual. Drawing on recent ethnographic methods centred on devices, apps, and social media, I unpack screenshots of these visualisations with participants as part of my research. The project is supervised by Dr Brady Robards, Associate Professor Mark Davis and Dr John Gardner.

Publications

  • Lyall, B. & Robards, B. (2018), 'Tool, toy and tutor: Subjective experiences of digital self-tracking', Journal of Sociology 54(1) doi: 10.1177/1440783317722854
  • Lyall, B. (2019) 'Fitness for sale: The vale of self-tracking in secondhand exchange', The Information Society 35(5) doi: 10.1080/01972243.2019.1582569