Tomorrow I will be presenting at the BISA International Political Economy Group Conference the theme of which is “IPE and the New Normal. Open Conflict After the Crash”.

Plenary Speakers are:

Hugo Radice, School of Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds: ‘After the crisis: global capitalism and the critique of political economy’

Professor Jacqui True, Monash University: ‘Scandalous Economics: The New Normal of Gender after Financial Crisis’ Winner of BISA IPEG 2013 Book Prize

I will be presenting aspects of my recently published article as part of the panel “Quantified Life: The Work of Measure and Its Value for Contemporary Capitalism” which will also feature the following speakers:

 Emma Dowling (Middlesex University) and David Harvie (University of


‘A Measure of Change: Governing Financialised Subjects in a Post-crisis Economy’

Phoebe Moore (Middlesex University)

‘The Quantification of Everything’


Christopher Till (Leeds Metropolitan University)

‘Exercise as Labour:

Quantified Self and the Transformation of Exercise into Labour’


Martin Upchurch, Phoebe Moore, Aylin Kunter (Middlesex University)

‘Marketisation, Commodification and the Implications for UK Teachers’ Autonomy’

The abstract for the session is below:

The global economic crisis as an event has ostensibly been surpassed. Now, in places where it was not so already, a sense of crisis has been normalised as an ontological state simultaneously kept at bay and reinforced by the constant appeals to find more and better drivers of economic growth, with greater efficiency and permanent restructuring premised on the imposition of metrics and performance indicators across all spheres of life. Coupled with developments in technology, the subsumption of life under measure now seems complete: the quantified self, measures of social value, performance indicators, (big) data analysis.  For proponents, these developments promise more accuracy in determining economic value, augmented possibilities for its production coupled with the benefits of being able to address urgent ethical concerns made possible by measuring social returns on financial investments. On the other hand, quantification is an old technique for the control of labour, and one that has been applied to enhance productivity with measures based on arbitrary scorings. In the realm of management, performance measures are constantly restructured and updated in ways that reinforce precariousness, hierarchies of control, and that contribute to the deskilling of labour. Moreover, new technologies for measurement introduce a further set of concerns: will be will self-tracking become the ‘new normal’ for (self)management as corporations recognise efficiency gains in encouraging labouring subjects to manage health in conjunction with productivity? What are the implications for wearable technologies as they are used to measure the corporeal aspects of cognitive labour? Taken together, these concurrent developments call for us to revisit the question of how value is created and measured in contemporary capitalism. This panel will thus investigate the dimensions of our quantified lives and interrogate the work of measure and its value for contemporary capitalism. The panel will probe the purposes and consequences of metrics for quantifying activities, relationships and affects at work and in different realms of social life, while seeking to determine in what ways the ‘new normal’ of quantification constitutes a key fault-line in the contemporary political economy.


I will also be tweeting about the event @chrishtill