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Lupton, Prof. Deborah


Centenary Research Professor, Communication
Faculty of Arts & Design

Bldg, Floor & Room: 9, C9
Telephone: (02) 6201 2826
Facsimile: (02) 6201 5034


Deborah Lupton joined the university in early 2014 as a Centenary Research Professor associated with the News & Media Research Centre in the Faculty of Arts & Design. Her research and teaching is multidisciplinary, incorporating sociology, media and communication and cultural studies. Deborah has previously held academic appointments at the University of Sydney, Charles Sturt University and the University of Western Sydney.

Deborah is the author of 15 books and over 150 journal articles and book chapters on topics including the social and cultural dimensions of: medicine and public health; risk; the body; parenting cultures; digital sociology; food; obesity politics; and the emotions. She is an advocate of using social media for academic research and engagement, including Twitter (@DALupton) and her blog This Sociological Life. Deborah was one of the founding co-editors of the journal Health, and currently serves on that journal's editorial board, as well as those of the journals Health, Risk & Society, Journal of Sociology, Fat Studies, Digital Health, Societies and Big Data & Society.

 Areas of Teaching

  • Deborah is available to supervise honours and postgraduate students in any area related to her research interests.

Research Interests

  • Critical digital health studies;
  • big data cultures;
  • surveillance society and digital technologies;
  • the digitisation of children;
  • the use of digital technologies in academia;
  • social analysis of sensor-based and wearable technologies;
  • media, risk, health and medicine.

Qualifications Obtained

  • Bachelor of Arts (sociology and anthropology), Australian National University
  • Bachelor of Letters (sociology), Australian National University
  • Master of Public Health (University of Sydney)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (University of Sydney)

Research Profiles


Recent Publications

Authored Books

  • Lupton, D. (2016) The Quantified Self: A Sociology of Self-Tracking. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Lupton, D. (2015) Digital Sociology. London: Routledge
  • Lupton, D. (2013) Fat. London: Routledge (part of the Shortcuts series).
  • Lupton, D. (2013) The Social Worlds of the Unborn. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan (part of the Palgrave Pivot series).
  • Lupton, D. (2013) Risk (revised 2nd edition). London: Routledge
  • Lupton, D. (2012) Medicine as Culture: Illness, Disease and the Body (revised 3rd edition). London: Sage.

Edited Books

  • Lupton, D. (editor) (2015) Beyond Techno-Utopia: Critical Approaches to Digital Health Technologies. Basel: MDPI Books.
  • Lupton, D. (editor) (2013) The Unborn Human (part of the Living Books about Life series). Open Humanities Press (digital book).

Book Chapters

  • Lupton, D. (in press) 'Mastering your fertility': the digitised reproductive citizen. McCosker, A., Vivienne, S. and Johns, A. (eds), Negotiating Digital Citizenship: Control, Contest and Culture, to be published by Rowman and Littlefield, London.
  • Lupton, D. (in press) Digital health technologies and digital data: new ways of monitoring, measuring and commodifying human bodies. In Olleros, F. X. and Zhegu, M. (eds), Research Handbook of Digital Transformations. New York: Edward Elgar.
  • Lupton, D. (in press) Digital bodies. In Silke, M., Andrews, D. and Thorpe, H. (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Physical Cultural Studies. London: Routledge.
  • Lupton, D. (in press) Personal data practices in the age of lively data. In Daniels, J., Gregory, K. and McMillan Cottom, T. (eds), Digital Sociologies. London: Policy Press.
  • Gard, M. and Lupton, D. (2016) Digital health goes to school: digitising children's bodies in health and physical education. In Taylor, E. and Rooney, T. (eds), Surveillance Futures: Social and Ethical Implications of New Technologies for Children and Young People. London: Routledge.
  • Lupton, D. (2016) 3D printed self replicas: personal digital data made solid. In McGillivray, D, Carnicelli, S. and McPherson, G. (eds), Digital Leisure Cultures: Critical Perspectives. London: Routledge.
  • Lupton, D. (2016) Digitized health promotion:  risk and personal responsibility for health in the Web 2.0 era. In Davis, J. and Gonzalez, A. M. (eds), To Fix or To Heal: Patient Care, Public Health, and the Limits of Biomedicine. New York: New York University Press.
  • Lupton, D. (2016) Digital risk society. In Zinn, J., Burgess, A. and Alemanno, A. (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Risk Studies. London: Routledge.
  • Lupton, D. (2016) You are your data: self-tracking practices and concepts of data. In Selke, Stefan (ed.), Lifelogging: Digital Self-Tracking: Between Disruptive Technology and Cultural Change. Zurich: Springer.
  • Lupton, D. (2015) Digital sociology. In Germov, J. and Poole, M. (eds), Public Sociology: An Introduction to Australian Society,  3rd edition. St Leonards: Allen & Unwin.
  • Lupton, D.  (2015) Donna Haraway: the digital cyborg assemblage and the new digital health technologies. In Collyer, F. (ed), The Palgrave Handbook of Social Theory in Health, Illness and Medicine. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Lupton, D. (2014) Unborn assemblages: shifting configurations of embryonic and foetal embodiment. In Nash, M. (ed), Reframing Reproduction: Conceiving Gendered Experiences. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Lupton, D. (2014) The reproductive citizen: motherhood and health education. In Fitzpatrick, K. and Tinning, R. (eds), Health Education: Critical Perspectives. London: Routledge, pp. 48—60.
  • Lupton, D. (2013) Introduction: conceptualising and configuring the unborn human. In Lupton, D. (ed), The Unborn Human. London: Open Humanities Press (digital book).

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

  • Thomas, G.M. and Lupton, D. (2016) Threats and thrills: pregnancy apps, risk and consumption. Health, Risk & Society, 17(7-8), 495—509.
  • Lupton, D., Pedersen, S. and Thomas, G.M. (2016) Parenting and digital media: from the early web to contemporary digital society. Sociology Compass, 10(8), 730-743.
  • Lupton, D. (2016) The diverse domains of quantified selves: self-tracking modes and dataveillance. Economy & Society, 45(1), 101-122.
  • Lupton, D. (2016) Digital companion species and eating data: implications for theorising digital data-human assemblages. Big Data & Society, 3(1), online, available at
  • Lupton, D. and Pedersen, S. (2016) An Australian survey of women's use of pregnancy and parenting apps. Women and Birth, online ahead of print:
  • Pedersen, S. and Lupton, D. (2016) 'What are you feeling right now?' Communities of maternal feeling on Mumsnet. Emotion, Space & Society, online ahead of print:
  • Lupton, D. (2016) The use and value of digital media information for pregnancy and early motherhood: a focus group study.  BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 16(171), online, available at
  • Lupton, D. (2016) Digital companion species and eating data: implications for theorising digital data-human assemblages. Big Data & Society, 3(1), online, available at
  • Lupton, D. (2016) Towards critical health studies: reflections on two decades of research in Health and the way forward. Health, 20(1), 49—61.
  • Michael, M. and Lupton, D.  (2016) Toward a manifesto for 'a public understanding of big data'. Public Understanding of Science, 25(1), 104—116.
  • Lupton, D. and Thomas, G.M.  (2015) Playing pregnancy: the ludification and gamification of expectant motherhood in smartphone apps. M/C, 18(5), available at
  • Jutel, A. and Lupton, D. (2015) Digitizing diagnosis: a review of smartphone and computer applications in the diagnostic process. Diagnosis, online first, doi: 10.1515/dx-2014-0068.
  • Lupton, D. and Jutel, A. (2015) 'It's like having a physician in your pocket!' A critical analysis of self-diagnosis smartphone apps. Social Science & Medicine, 133, 128—135.
  • Lupton, D. (2015) Fabricated data bodies: reflections on 3D printed digital body objects in medical and health domains. Social Theory & Health, 13(2), 99—115.
  • Lupton, D. (2015) Data assemblages, sentient schools and digitised HPE (response to Gard). Sport, Education and Society, 20(1), 122—32.
  • Lupton, D. (2015) The pedagogy of disgust: ethical, moral and political implications of using disgust in public health campaigns. Critical Public Health, 25(1), 4—14.
  • Lupton, D. (2015) Health promotion in the digital era: a critical commentary. Health Promotion International, 30(1), 174—83.
  • Lupton, D. (2015) Quantified sex: a critical analysis of sexual and reproductive self-tracking apps. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 17(4), 440—53.
  • Lupton, D. (2014) Critical perspectives on digital health technologies. Sociology Compass, 8(12), 1344—59.
  • Lupton, D. (2014) Apps as artefacts: towards a critical sociological perspective on health and medical apps. Societies, 4, 606—22.
  • Lupton, D. (2014) The commodification of patient opinion: the digital patient experience economy in the age of big data. Sociology of Health & Illness, 36(6), 856—69.
  • Lupton, D. (2014) 'How do you measure up?' Assumptions about 'obesity' and health-related behaviors in 'obesity' prevention campaigns. Fat Studies, 3(1), 32—44.
  • Lupton, D. (2014) Precious, pure, uncivilised, vulnerable: infant embodiment in the Australian popular media. Children & Society, 28(5), 341—51.
  • Lupton, D. (2013) The digitally engaged patient: self-monitoring and self-care in the digital health era.  Social Theory & Health, 11 (3), 256—70.
  • Lupton, D. (2013) Quantifying the body: monitoring, performing and configuring health in the age of mHealth technologies. Critical Public Health, 23(4), 393-403.
  • Lupton, D. (2013) Understanding the human machine. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 32(4), 25—30.
  • Lupton, D. (2013) Risk and emotion: towards an alternative theoretical perspective. Health, Risk & Society, 15(8), 634—47.
  • Lupton, D. and Schmied, V. (2013) Splitting bodies/selves: women's concepts of embodiment at the moment of birth.  Sociology of Health & Illness, 35(6), 828—41.
  • Lupton, D. (2013) Infant embodiment and interembodiment: a review of sociocultural perspectives. Childhood, 20(1), 37—50.
  • Lupton, D.  (2013) 'It's a terrible thing when your children are sick': motherhood and home healthcare work. Health Sociology Review, 22(3), 234—42.
  • Lupton, D. (2012) 'Precious cargo': Foetal subjects and reproductive citizenship. Critical Public Health, 22(3), 329—40.
  • Lupton, D. (2012) M-health and health promotion: the digital cyborg and surveillance society. Social Theory & Health, 10(3), 229—34.

Peer-reviewed Conference Papers

  • Lupton, D. (2014) Self-tracking cultures: towards a sociology of personal informatics. Australian Computer-Human Interaction Special Interest Group (OzCHI) 2014 conference proceedings, ACM Publishers.
  • Lupton, D. (2013) Digital sociology: beyond the digital to the sociological. In The Australian Sociological Association Annual Conference 2013 Proceedings: Reflections, Intersections and Aspirations. Edited by Osbaldiston, N., Strong, C. and Forbes-Mewett, H. Melbourne: TASA.

Other academic publications

  • Lupton, D. (in press) Purity and danger. In Ritzer, G. (ed), The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2nd edition. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.
  • Lupton, D. and Pedersen, S. (2015) 'What is Happening with Your Body and Your Baby': Australian Women's Use of Pregnancy and Parenting Apps. News and Media Research Centre, University of Canberra.
  • Lupton, D. (2014) Editorial: Beyond techno-utopia: critical approaches to digital health technologies. Societies, 4(4), 706—11.
  • Lupton, D. (2014) Risk. In Cockerham, W., Dingwall, R. and Quah, S. (eds), The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior and Society. New York: Blackwell, pp. 2067—71.
  • Lupton, D. (2012) (editor) Food, nutrition and body weight. Sociology of Health & Illness, Virtual Special Issue 8. Available at


Over her career Deborah has been the recipient as chief investigator of eight ARC grants, three Commonwealth AIDS Research Committee grants, one National Heart Foundation grant and three NH&MRC grants.


Vice-Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award, Charles Sturt University, 2000.

Allen Lane Prize for most read book review in philosophy, LSE Review of Books Awards, 2013.

Current Projects

Deborah's current research projects are investigating the following topics:

1. Living Digital Data

'Public Understandings of Big Data': A study using cultural probes in focus groups held in Sydney to explore what people understand about how their personal data are collected and used. Collaborator: Mike Michael, University of Sydney.

'Fitness Activity Analytics': This project involves interviews with people in Canberra who are self-tracking their fitness activities. Collaborator: Glen Fuller, University of Canberra.

 'Cycling Commuting Self-Tracking': Another project on self-tracking, this time involving people in Canberra and Melbourne who monitor their cycling commutes. This project used digital ethnography methods. Collaborators: Sarah Pink and Shanti Sumartojo, RMIT University, Melbourne and Christine Heyes Labond, University of Canberra.

'Why Do People Self-Track?': A third study on self-tracking practices. This one takes a broader view, using the method of semi-structured telephone interviews to talk to Australians who self-track about why and how they do so. Collaborator: Gavin Smith, Australian National University.

'Self-Tracking and Automatised Bodies': funded by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences. Collaborators: Martin Berg, Professor Vaike Fors and Christopher Martin, Halmstead University, Sweden, Tom O'Dell, Lund University, Sweden, Sarah Pink, RMIT University and Minna Ruckenstein and Mika Pantzar, University of Helsinki, Finland.

2. Digitised Pregnancy and Parenting

This research program involves several different elements, including a survey completed by 410 women around Australia and focus groups with women in Sydney who at the time of the survey/focus groups were either pregnant or had given birth in the past three years. It also involves a critical analysis of pregnancy and reproduction apps and other digital devices for monitoring menstruation, fertility and pregnancy. Collaborators: Sarah Pedersen, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, and Gareth Thomas, Cardiff University.

3. Critical Digital Health Studies

'Small Technology, Big Data and the Business of Young People's Health': This is an Australian Research Council Discovery Project involving interviews with and observations of teachers in Australian schools about how they use digital technologies in school health and physical education as well as a critical analysis of these technologies. Collaborators: Michael Gard, University of Queensland, Deana Leahy, Monash University, Melbourne and Carolyn Pluim, Northern Illinois University, USA.

'Digital Health: Critical Perspectives': A sole-authored monograph to be published by Routledge, using sociocultural theory to cast a critical eye on a range of contemporary digital health technologies. Due for publication in 2017.

'The Senses and Digital Health: Sociocultural Perspectives': A special issue I am editing for the Digital Health journal.

4. Digital Media, Food and Body Weight

'Digital Media and Body Weight': A special issue I am editing for the Fat Studies journal.

'Datafied Bodies, Food and Digital Technologies': A chapter I am working on for a handbook on food and popular culture.

'Fabricated Food: Consumer Responses to 3D Printed Food':This study used an online focus group discussion format to invite Australians to tell use what they thought about food fabricated from 3D printing technologies. Collaborator: Bethaney Turner, University of Canberra.

5. App Studies

'Australians' Use of Apps': A survey of how Australians use apps: what types of apps they use, what devices they upload them to and how they use the apps. Collaborators: Scott Rickard and Sam Hinton, University of Canberra.

6. Digital Academia

'The Digital Academic': An edited book, also for Routledge, bringing together contributors examining the implications of digital technologies for academic work and identities. Due for publication in 2017. Other editors: Inger Mewburn, Australian National University and Pat Thomson, Nottingham University, UK.