Andreas Bernard – The Knowledge of the Profile. Conceptions of the Self in Digital Cultures

Event Date: 12 May 2016

Room 264
Senate House
University of London
London WC1E 7HU

The Humanities and Arts Research Centre at Royal Holloway presents:

Professor Andreas Bernard (Leuphana University Lüneburg) – The Knowledge of the Profile. Conceptions of the Self in Digital Cultures

Knowledge of the self in digital cultures surprisingly often refers to formats and technologies that originally appeared in the fields of criminology and psychiatry. Today, we all foster our numerous personal or academic “profiles”; we use tracking services on the smartphone to find a cab, a meal or a partner for the night; we measure our steps and our bodily functions via health apps and wristbands. But one should not forget: until 25 years ago, only serial killers and lunatics were the object of a “profile”, and tracking or measurement technologies were predominantly applied to convict a suspect of a criminal act. So what does it mean that the digital self obtains its sovereignty and self empowerment through methods which were, from the end of the 19th to the late 20th century, reserved to the access of deviant subjects (by the state, the police or the hospital)? The lecture will try to address this question.

Andreas Bernard is Professor for Cultural Studies at Leuphana University Lüneburg. He studied Literary Criticism and Cultural Studies in Munich. He was a Scientific Assistant in Weimar (2002-2005) and at University of Constance (2007-2010). Between1995 and 2014 he has been an editor and author of Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich. Since 2014 he is an author of Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. Recent publication: Lifted. A Cultural History of the Elevator. New York University Press, 2014.

Introduction by Scott Wark (Warwick):

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