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Narratives of Digital Creep: An Investigation of the Socio-technical Transitions in Cycling

Caine, Adam (2022) Narratives of Digital Creep: An Investigation of the Socio-technical Transitions in Cycling. Doctoral thesis, Stafforshire University.

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Abstract or description

This thesis applies the conceptual language of practice theory to an investigation of the digital transitions occurring within the pursuit of cycling. Using a qualitative approach based on a series of semi-structured interviews, the research argues that cyclists’ practices have, for many, become contingent on the presence of technology. The research asks what do the narratives and lifecycles of socio-technical practices tell us about the technologisation of leisure and what are the mechanisms and consequences of this change? It then explores what the implications mean for the culture and practices of cycling and also for health and active leisure/transport.

The complex narratives of cyclists formed amidst their mobile practices and digital counterparts provided evidence of digital creep. The pursuit of cycling has been altered through scripts found in applications like Strava – scripts embedded in applications become scripts embedded in the mind of cyclists and their practices. Gamification augments their experiences in a playful but also serious manner. The inherent self and social surveillance of online ride sharing elicits feelings of anxiety, pressure, and accountability.

The empirical discussions detail how cyclists’ practices have become (co)produced through digital technologies. The research contends that cycling practitioners are part of and enmeshed within socio-technical cycling assemblages in which they have become imbued with a digital imperative. This digital consciousness derived from self-surveillance, gamified software scripts, and self-quantification leads to compulsions to ride and the formation of new habits and routines. Building upon theoretical work within digital geographies, this thesis provides further insight into the digitisation of leisure practices. It concludes by arguing that although scripted applications produce long-term sustained changes to practices, they raise moral and ethical considerations that need to be addressed to ensure disparities are not furthered. Finally, the research provides relevant applications for future health and environmental interventions

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Sport and Exercise
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2024 10:24
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2024 10:24

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