Accepted paper:

Old age and the making of everyday life

Authors:

Åsa Alftberg (Malmö University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will focus on the relationship between old age, objects and domestic routines. Domestic routines are transformed as certain objects lose their importance and fall out of use, while others appear - for example a walking aid or a blood glucose meter - and become integrated in everyday life.

Paper long abstract:

The surrounding world, filled with objects, is the foundation of our actions, thoughts and emotions. Equally, we affect things and objects in our turn, through the interpretation and the significance we give them. In regard to old age, certain objects, as well as places, may become problematic. Some things lose their importance and fall out of use while others appear and become integrated in everyday life, thereby transforming domestic routines. This paper will focus on the relationship between old age, objects and domestic routines. Ageing changes the making of everyday life in different ways, and consequently transforms the experience of things, world and self. If "things are not consumed for their own sake but for what they make possible" (Shove et al 2007:22), which worlds are opened through the walking aid or the blood glucose meter? How do new objects find their place in everyday life? And the opposite; how do well-known things phase out of everyday activities? Empirical examples will be used, deriving from interviews and participant observations with men and women, eighty years and older.

panel P118
Objects, domestic routines and the making of everyday life