Tracking the Footballing Self

Eveliina ParikkaAn ethnography of the tensions between analogue and digital expertise in a football team’s self-tracking practices

In the digitally mediated world that we live in, self-tracking and monitoring technologies have been observed to become part of the various realms of our social lives, shaping and even disturbing relations that we take part in. This thesis has sought to explore how tensions emerge between digital tracking technologies, players and other human members of an elite football team and, thus, to address how those tensions are dealt with.
By applying the ethnographic research methodology and adopting the theoretical framework of Actor-Network Theory (ANT), the study has pursued to investigate how the technologies participate in the players’
everyday practices as well as how the players navigate between the expertise of different human and non-human sources in the team.
The results indicate that the involvement of tracking technologies can increase the possibility of tensions to arise between different participants in a network such as the studied football team. To deal with these tensions, this thesis has contributed with a prototype of a system around a player monitoring technology. It suggests roles, relations, factors and actions in order to enhance the understanding among those who manage such a technology, helping them to acknowledge and overcome possible tensions in the social process of tracking a football team. This service blueprint is constructed through co-design workshops together with the player participants.

Evelina’s demo video

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