Be-handeln und De-aktivieren: Ein empirischer Beitrag zur Erweiterung soziomaterieller agency-Konzeptionen am Fall einer ‚Fitness-App‘

Carsten Ochs


Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) in many accounts is regarded as a forerunner of approaches summarized as ‘new materialism’. Similar to ANT New Materialism tends to conceive of material entities as having agency, i.e. as active contributors to processes of becoming. At the same time, however, criticisms have been raised against ANT as well as against New Materialism as to their undifferentiated conceptions of agency. Against this background, in this article I will contribute to the conceptual differentiation of agency by drawing on the case of a ‘fitness app’. I will do so by first providing a thick description of the app’s workings and the way it is syntagmatically networked in the technoeconomic frame of the data economy. Second, I will introduce Rammert’s and Schulz-Schaeffer’s gradual notion of agency to specify different types of agency performed by the app, including negative ones. Third, I will draw conceptual conclusions following from my analysis.