Programme

(T099)
New frontiers in social gerontechnology - Exploring Challenges at the Intersection of STS and Ageing Studies
Location 128
Date and Start Time 02 September, 2016 at 11:00
Sessions 4

Convenors

  • Alexander Peine (Utrecht University) email
  • Louis Neven (Avans University of Applied Sciences) email

Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

This track brings together contributions at the intersection of STS, social gerontology and gerontechnology to arrive at empirically-grounded theoretical insights about the changing entanglement of later life with technoscientific objects.

Long Abstract

Research into technology and innovation to support Europe's ageing populations have seen a multi-billion euro investment under labels as "ICT for Ageing Well", "Ambient Assisted Living" or more broadly: Gerontechnology. Driven by a firm believe that innovation will be able to solve alleged challenges of demographic ageing, these programs share a techno-optimistic future of a brave new "active and healthy ageing" with technology. Only recently, such optimistic visions have received criticism from social gerontologists and STS scholar alike for their lack of attendance to the social, cultural and ethical implications (Joyce and Mamo, 2006; Peine and Neven 2011; Mort et al., 2013). So far, such insights have remained under-theorized and scattered across disciplines.

This track brings together contributions at the intersection of STS, social gerontology and gerontechnology to arrive at empirically-grounded theoretical insights about the changing entanglement of later life with technoscientific objects. Presentations in the track may address, but are not limited to the following topics.

• Which images of older people are made visible in the design of technology, examples of outdated perceptions and new liberating design?

• How can we understand Gerontechnology implementation as changing socio-technical arrangements? Who drives implementation? What changes during implementation?

• What are the implications of ageing-in-place technologies on the geography and nature of the home and health care at home?

• Can and should we re-think older technology users as co-creators and indeed user innovators?

• How can we improve Gerontechology design and extend our imagery of older technology user underlying such design?

SESSIONS: 5/5/5/4

This track is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Images of ageing in architectural design for older people

Authors: Christina Buse (University of York)  email
Sarah Nettleton (University of York)  email
Daryl Martin (University of York)  email
Julia Twigg (University of Kent)  email

Short Abstract

We explore how architects imagine the ageing body when designing UK care homes and the extent to which they engage with older users, based on qualitative data. Architects drew on contrasting images of ageing, the design implementation of which was constrained by the demands of multiple actors.

Long Abstract

This paper explores how architects imagine the ageing body when designing residential care homes for later life and the extent to which they engage empathetically with older users. While research is beginning to examine how the design of assistive living technologies or information and communication technologies draws on - and may inform - particular images of later life (Fisk 2003; Mort, Roberts & Callen 2013; Östlund 2002, 2005), there has been little consideration of how buildings as technoscientific objects elicit particular configurations of older users, or how these emerge in the design process. Accordingly, this paper draws on qualitative data as part of an ongoing ESRC funded UK study 'Buildings in the making'. Our analysis reveals that architects use a range of strategies to imagine the embodied experiences of older people, drawing on personal experience, formal guidance and training, and deliberately using their own bodies to imagine embodied experiences of others negotiating place. Architects draw on multiple discourses and images of ageing with conceptions of older bodies as active and consuming evident alongside discourses of decline and risk. However, the extent to which architects engaged directly with users was variable and contingent, depending on a range of factors in the design process. In negotiating the competing demands of clients, planners and other actors, architects were engaged in a process of 'juggling' (Latour and Yaneva 2008) differently embodied ideas of who the end-users of their building will be, and what they will need and want from the design.

Constructing the older end-user - Experiences from three years of working in AAL-projects

Authors: Anna Wanka (University of Vienna)  email
Vera Gallistl (Department of Sociology)  email

Short Abstract

This paper examines how different logics, arising from funding requirements in the composition of research consortia (business and academic, technology and social sciences, etc.), work in creating images of ageing and practices of technology use in research and development of AAL projects.

Long Abstract

Despite the insistence with which research and development of Ambient Assisted Living technologies has been driven by public and private stakeholders (Sixsmith & Sixsmith, 2008), AAL has yet failed to establish itself on the market (Wilson et al., 2014). Hence, to better adapt to the end-users' needs, the social sciences are increasingly being involved in AAL research. How do different logics, arising from funding requirements in the composition of research consortia (business and academic, technology and social sciences, etc.), work in creating images of ageing and practices of technology use in research and development of AAL projects? How is the "older end-user" discursively and practically being constructed?

This paper draws upon data and reflections from three years of working in AAL-projects as sociologists, particularly focusing on the project "wellbeing" (funded by the AAL-Joint-Programme). In this project, a software platform is being developed to enhance quality of work for older adults. Data to be discussed includes:

- A quantitative survey among employees 50+ and their supervisors on technology acceptance and ageing stereotypes (n=1.575)

- 15 qualitative interviews with older end-users in a software field trial

- Critical reflections on the research process

Results show that deficient images of ageing underlay research, development and provision of technology that do not match older adults' self-perception. However, both deficient, passive images of ageing and the neoliberal active-ageing paradigm should be critically reviewed when working in this field.

Older people caught between an autonomous life and autonomous technology?

Author: Carolin Kollewe (Heidelberg University)  email

Short Abstract

The paper will show how older people using telecare devices grapple with images of autonomous older people which are present in current political discourses and/or how they try to resist their use. The devices will also be discussed as a part of “relational autonomy”.

Long Abstract

Political institutions and producers promise that Ambient Assisted Living technologies help old people live an "independent" and "self-determined" life. Yet, what do "self-determination" and "independence" mean for older people when they use these devices? And how do these technologies shape their life in old age, if at all? This paper presents preliminary findings from ethnographic research which was realized while different telecare devices were being installed in the homes of older people in Germany. Firstly, it will show how older people using these technologies grapple with images of autonomous older people which are present in current political discourses and/or how they try to resist the use of these devices. Secondly the monitoring devices will be discussed as a part of care arrangements, using the concept of "relational autonomy" (Sherwin 1998; Mackenzie/Stoljar 2000).

Deconstructing ageing stereotypes through Participatory Design: a Design Anthropology perspective.

Authors: Linda Tonolli (University of Trento)  email
Vincenzo D'Andrea  email
Francesco Ceschel (University of Trento)  email
Antonella De Angeli (University of Trento)  email

Short Abstract

This contribution presents a case study in which Participatory Design is combined with Design Anthropology in order to unearth and deconstruct ageing stereotypes, involving seniors as co-creators, through the making of a multimedia project.

Long Abstract

In the field of STS and system design it has been recently documented how ICT design for seniors is permeated with ageism (ageing stereotypes) and focuses prominently on an individual medicalized dimension, neglecting the collective dimension of ageing and its socio-cultural context (Vines et al 2015, Cozza and De Angeli 2015). In this paper, we argue that a design process liberating from ageism calls for the involvement of seniors as co-creators and needs to start from their everyday practices. Therefore, we adopt Participatory Design as methodology, integrating a Design Anthropology perspective (DA). DA improves the design with an anthropological gaze, characterized by a reflexive approach of the participants as well as of the researchers (Gunn et al 2013, Tonolli et al 2015). The case study presented is an on-going workshop realized with a Senior Community Centre, on the use of digital technologies. Ethnographic methods have been adopted while engaging with the participants in interactive activities. Seniors' approach to ICT often produces a stressful and anxious condition rather than a state of well-being, while senior's fascination for it is not always supported by personal needs, rather by induced ones. Therefore, we engaged seniors in critically reflecting on the use and usefulness of digital technologies. The result was the making of a multimedia project for sharing their expertise. A reflexive process in-the-making has been articulated: making sense of ICT and ageing in seniors' own terms, activating a participatory deconstruction of ageism, in contrast with the normative narratives articulated under the label "active aging".

Rejuvenating design - Bikes, Batteries, and older adopters in the diffusion of e-biking

Authors: Alexander Peine (Utrecht University)  email
Louis Neven (Avans University of Applied Sciences)  email
Vivette Van Cooten (Avans University of Applied Science)  email

Short Abstract

We critically investigate the link between age, ineptness and innovation diffusion with a case study of eBikes in the Netherlands. Our research highlights the situated and constructed nature of adopter categories and challenges age-based assumptions about technology use by younger and older persons.

Long Abstract

Old age is normally not associated with innovativeness and technical prowess. To the contrary, when treating age as a distinct category, policy makers, innovation scholars and companies typically regard younger people as drivers of innovation and the early adoption of new technology. In this paper, we critically investigate this link between age, ineptness, and technology adoption using a case study of the diffusion of electric bikes in the Netherlands. We demonstrate how, during the first wave of e-bike acceptance, old age was constructed as an arena in which important learning processes took place, and where older persons became early adopters of e-bikes. Theoretically, this paper speaks critically to the prolific literature on innovation diffusion and its treatment of adopter categories as generic concepts. Using age as a central dimension, our research highlights the situated and constructed nature of adopter categories, and thus challenges age-based assumptions about technology use by younger and older persons. These insights about what we term the rejuvenation of e-bikes help us rectify existing biases of older persons as an inherently problematic group of technology users.

"The weight of the record": Japanese nurses and designed patients

Authors: Tom Hope (Tokyo Tech)  email
Kentaro Watanabe (AIST)  email
Kosuke Yamada (Saga University Hospital)  email

Short Abstract

This paper explores implications for older patients of the convergence in Japan of integrated or ‘total’ healthcare with the digiization of medical and health data, by examining a co-research project with nurses to design improved electronic medical records and the service of providing ‘care’.

Long Abstract

This paper explores implications for older patients of the convergence in Japan of integrated or 'total' healthcare with the digiization of medical and health data by examining a co-research project with nurses to design improved electronic medical records and the service of providing 'care'.

Japan is well-known to be in demographic crisis with an ageing population leading to a 'super-aged' society of people with a variety of age-related health issues (Muromatsu & Akiyama, 2011). A lack of professional carers coinciding with reluctance toward and difficulty of immigration, means that current healthcare practices drastically need to change.

A proposed solution to these problems given by the government and medical researchers in Japan has been integrated or 'total' healthcare—a rethinking of medical and care practice to keep older patients in their communities and a focus on the quality of life of 'old-old' patients (Arai et al, 2015). Another response pushed by the government and industry is the development and integration of digital data and robotics into hospitals, care facilities and these communities.

This paper explores the construction and use of data on patients by nurses, examining the practical, accomplished actions of 'caring' through their use of an assemblage of noting technologies. The paper examines how these technologies present different images of older patients and reflexively looks at how a co-creative research process may influence this. It then presents some associated implications for integrated healthcare and the sharing of digital data of the super-aged.

The production of risky domestic spaces and vulnerable elderly users for telecare provision. The case of social alarms in Spain.

Authors: Juan C. Aceros (Universidad Industrial de Santander)  email
Miquel Domènech (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)  email

Short Abstract

Telecare is transforming later life. From an STS perspective, we examine how social alarms are producing a new understanding and experience of home as a place to “age well”.

Long Abstract

"Aging in place" is one of the current paradigms fostering successful forms of later life. It states that people should be able to continue living in their own place of residence in old age. An emphasis is in the promotion of the house as the better place to stay as far as we age. As a result, a number of domestic modalities of care have been widely promoted. Telecare is one of them. It implies the introduction of ICT at home, with the aim of caring home users at a distance. These technologies are presented by their sponsors and providers as cost-efficient solutions to the problems linked to aging populations. However, they are doing more than making "aging well" possible. Our research on social alarms in Spain has shown that telecare actually transforms later life, as well as the place where it is supposed to occur. With the aid of ethnographic material, interviews and focus groups conducted in Catalonia, we examine how social alarms are producing a new understanding and experience of home. While psychological literature -and "aging in place" discourses- highlights the restorative nature of home, telecare provision requires the users to feel unsafe in their own household. Thus, paradoxically, telecare providers need the users to age in a place which is risky to them, and push older people to become sensitive to the dangerous conditions of their homes. The aim of our paper is to examine how this is occurring in our case of study.

Elderly care/caring by means of everyday ICTs in Indian transnational families

Author: Tanja Ahlin (University of Amsterdam)  email

Short Abstract

This presentation explores how informal elderly care is provided in Indian transnational families by using generic, everyday information and communication technologies (ICTs), and how the elderly are actively involved in co-constructing caring practices at a distance.

Long Abstract

In both popular and academic discourses, elderly people are often assumed to be care recipients, dependent on support of other people as well as, increasingly, technologies. In contexts where adult children, who tend to (be expected to) provide most care for their elderly parents, move far away for work, the elderly are frequently seen as having been "abandoned" by their closest kin. Another supposition is that the elderly are or could not be the users of novel technologies such as mobile phones and computers simply because of their age. My extensive fieldwork among the elderly in Kerala, India, puts such stereotypes under question and shows that the experience the elderly have with ICTs in care is much more nuanced. Rather than focusing on technologies specifically designed for elderly care, I explore how everyday ICTs are used in elderly care in Indian transnational families, in which adult children migrate abroad. In this presentation, I give examples of how informal elderly care at a distance is co-constructed by family members living in different countries and using ICTs. Rather than being helpless, abandoned and technology-phobic, many elderly in my study were actively involved in caring practices at a distance, taking care of both their children and grand-children living far away by using (mobile) phones, social media websites and Internet-based webcams. I suggest that researching the use of the already existing, generic ICTs is a fruitful way to explore what technology may (not) do for elderly care and caring practices.

Equal Facilitation of Clients' and Organizations' Needs? Enacting Gerontechnological Effects

Author: Jenny M. Bergschöld (Norwegian Univ. of Science and Technology)  email

Short Abstract

The paper explores a gerontechnological care-coordinating device. It draws on ethnographical accounts of user-technology practices before, during and after 105 service interactions in home care services. It offers suggestions for studying impacts of organizational gerontechnologies in clients’ lives

Long Abstract

This paper explores the effects of a gerontechnological care-coordinating software by drawing on results of an empirical study of user-technology practices in the context of the Norwegian Home Care Services.

In Norway the implementation of this and other gerontechnologies is part of a political reformation of the Norwegian welfare state. The implementation of such 'welfare technologies' (NOU 2011:11) are seen as a solution to the combined problem of a rapidly ageing population and a lack of resources because they are believed to result in practices of resource rationalization which do not conflict with clients' needs and rights.

By drawing on domestication theory (Berker et al, 2006; Lie and Sørensen, 1996/2002) I argue that user-technology relationships are empirical sites where the technology and its effects, in terms of impacts in clients' everyday lives, become enacted.

The study was conducted during the autumn of 2015 and draws on ethnographical accounts of technology-user practices before, during and after 105 interactions between home care workers and their clients, as well as organizational documents.

The paper contributes to the debates on how technology-user relationships may be understood as empirical sites of particular importance for the exploration of the effects of organizational gerontechnologies in the lives of welfare institutions' clients.

Past entanglements of the old age home

Author: Anders Møller (University of Copenhagen)  email

Short Abstract

This paper discusses how old age and technology are entangled also in a historical study. Using material on old age homes in Denmark in the period from 1891-1974, I analyze the old age home as a compound technology, which installs and materialize different and historical specific old ages.

Long Abstract

This paper discusses how entanglements of old age and technology can be operationalized in a historical study. Understanding old age as entangled and constituted in different material and discursive practices is also analytically productive for historical studies of old age.

The paper arises from my on-going PhD project on, how old age was configured in specific practices of the old age home, within the municipality of Copenhagen, Denmark. The project is situated in the period ca. 1891-1974. In the paper I will explore examples of the historical materialization of the old age homes, by combining documentation of the very materiality of the homes such as buildings, surroundings and interiors with source materials like regulations, administrative records and documents.

In the first part of the paper I qualify the old age home as a compound technology, which is configured by a range of diverse elements, including regulations, materiality and knowledge. The technology the old age home works not only by housing old age, it also produces old age in a certain way, which is entangled with norms and visions of bodies and the good life in old age.

In the last part of the paper I characterize different aspects of the particular old age, which is produced and materialized in the old age home. Here I tentatively propose to focus on three heterogeneous aspects of the old age of the old age home; work, experiment and routines. These aspects serve to connect to the old age home as a compound technology.

Life cycle robust neighbourhoods as ageing-in-place technologies

Authors: Susan van Hees (Tilburg University)  email
Dirk Ruwaard (CAPRI- School for Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University)  email
Maria Jansen (Maastricht University / Public Health Service)  email
Klasien Horstman (Maastricht University)  email

Short Abstract

Based on an ethnographic study, including photovoice, we analyse innovations in neighbourhoods to stimulate ageing-in-place. As policymakers, directors, professionals and older people stress different qualities of a life cycle robust place, ageing technologies should attune to these differences.

Long Abstract

Strategies to enable people to grow old(er) while remaining in their homes for longer periods of time have been widely promoted. In this context, life cycle robust neighbourhoods are considered an important ageing-in-place technology. We studied constructions of life cycle robust neighbourhoods among actors working for municipalities, organisations in the fields of housing, care and welfare, an insurance company and associations representing older people, as well as among older people, in a local innovative care practice in the southern part of the Netherlands. We performed participant observations and interviews (N=74) and used photovoice to enable participants to articulate their experiences and ideas of neighbourhoods as places to age. Fifteen older persons and fourteen housing, care and welfare professionals took pictures to visualise their perception of life cycle robustness. In a dialogue meeting they shared their stories.

From the analysis it appears that policymakers and directors of organisations (as developers) and older people (as users) construct ageing-in-place differently. Developers (and professionals) envisioned homes and life cycle robust neighbourhoods primarily as technical constructs, namely as places that 'normalise' older people as active citizens, living in senior-friendly homes in participatory communities. Users defined life cycle robust neighbourhoods primarily in terms of personal memories, experiences and affections. While developers focus on the materiality of place and infrastructure, older people stress the importance of place attachment.

Our analysis makes clear that ageing technologies need to be adjusted to users' experiences and that there appears to be no one-size-fits all.

Visual Representations of Digital Connectivity in Everyday Life

Authors: Wendy Martin (Brunel University London)  email
Katy Pilcher (Aston University)  email

Short Abstract

This paper makes visible how people build, maintain and experience their virtual and digital connections, and the ways in which digital devices and information technologies are being incorporated into (and resisted) within daily life.

Long Abstract

This paper draws on data from the empirical study 'Photographing Everyday Life: Ageing, Lived Experiences, Time and Space' funded by the ESRC, UK. The focus of the project was to explore the significance of the ordinary and day-to-day and focus on the everyday meanings, lived experiences, practical activities, and social contexts in which people in mid to later life live their daily lives. The research involved a diverse sample of 62 women and men aged 50 years and over who took photographs of their different daily routines to create a weekly visual diary. This diary was then explored through in-depth photo-elicitation interviews to make visible the rhythms, patterns and meanings that underlie habitual and routinised everyday worlds. The data was analysed using the software Atlas Ti. The analysis highlighted: (1) the increasing importance of digital connectivity and the ways in which people in mid to later life actively engage (and resist) technologies of communication in their daily lives; (2) the significance of embodied co-presence and the immediacy of shared space and/or time; and (3) how narratives surrounding engagement (or not) with virtual technologies both challenge and reinforce ideas about ageing (and youth) in complex and, at times, contradictory ways. Exploring the routines, meanings, and patterns that underpin everyday life has therefore enabled us to make visible how people build, maintain and experience their social and virtual connections, and the ways in which digital devices and information technologies are being incorporated into (and resisted) within daily life.

Senior_a Cyborg. Doing health by using digital home-based technologies in troubled years.

Author: Monika Urban (University of Bremen)  email

Short Abstract

Current rationalities of health and age motivate elderly to a vital usage of home-based digital technologies for treatment, diagnosis and surveillance. An empirical pilot study examines the doing of health and age, the pre-scripted ageism and the contributions to social inequalities.

Long Abstract

Following the concept of biomedicalization (Clarke et al. 2003), contemporary life is marked by a privatization of and responsibilization for health care, while progressively relaying on technological applications for treatment, diagnosis and surveillance. This inheres the idealization of young and abled bodies, which calls on the activation of the individual for retaining youthfulness (Joyce & Mamo 2006). Accordingly the aged body is envisioned as a side for continual improvement at best or a set of age-related (pre-)diseases at worst. As a consequence digital home-based technologies designed to improve health enjoy great popularity with (most) elderly.

Thus, my pilot study, situated at the junction of Sociology of Health, Aging Studies and STS, is concerned about four corresponding aspects: (1) A survey is done on digital home-based devices to improve health and to continue active living at homes of the elderly. It is emphasized on how elderly negotiate with the devices, follow, modify, or resist their inscribed purposes. (2) Age as well as health are conceptualized as contingent social phenomena. By using the concept of doing age and health (Butler 1995), both are grasped as being generated by performativity. Based upon this, the embodied, lived experience of both will be approached. (3) In terms of STS, the interest lies upon the pre-scripted ageism in the design and diffusion of those technologies (Akrich 1992). (4) Finally it is questioned how those technologies redefine or reconfigure aging and health, how therewith technoscience contributes to inequalities of social positions, based on age, gender and class.

Social Media in later life and social isolation

Authors: Roser Beneito-Montagut (Cardiff University)  email
Arantza Begueria (Catalan Institute of Anthropology)  email
Nizaiá Cassián Yde (Open University of Catalonia)  email

Short Abstract

This paper focuses on the role of emotions and on understanding to what extent and how people use SM in later life. An ethnographic study of SM usage serves as the basis for an in-depth analysis of social and emotional conduct in everyday life.

Long Abstract

At the same time that the population ages social isolation is emerging as one of the major problems facing society. Social Media (SM) -with Facebook and Twitter as its most popular applications- are becoming fundamental to our social lives. There are few studies so far that explore in depth interpersonal interaction processes on SM in later life, fewer that take into account the role of emotions in this particular communication process for this particular social group. This paper focuses on the role of emotions and on understanding to what extent and how people use SM in later life. An ethnographic study of SM usage, conducted in Catalonia during two years (2013-2015), serves as the basis for an in-depth analysis of their social and emotional conduct in everyday life. Understanding how they use SM could inform the development of policies which foster SM engagement with a view to increase their possibilities for interpersonal relationships, and in turn, reduce social isolation problems. This perspective takes this paper away from simply studying what can or cannot be done online and from an ageism position. It also will allow moving beyond understanding technology as a quick and cheaper fix to social problems. Our interest is rather on how SM are integrated into everyday life in later life, how emotions intervene in their social interaction processes and how to improve their emotional well-being.

New lessons from old models: Reflecting on ethnographic fieldwork with 'gerontechnology' in a dementia care trial when imagining the technological future

Authors: Matthew Lariviere (University of Sheffield)  email
Fiona Poland (University of East Anglia)  email
Chris Fox (UEA)  email

Short Abstract

We draw on ethnographic work with nine households taking part in ATTILA to examine in what ways and to what extent currently prescribed assistive technologies 'assist 'people with dementia or their unpaid carers with everyday life.

Long Abstract

Assistive technology and telecare are championed by British policy makers as the panacea to helping people with disabilities remain and retain functional capacity to complete everyday activities. ATTILA is an ongoing pragmatic randomised controlled trial which seeks to evidence whether people with dementia using current generation assistive technology and telecare in their own homes can delay permanent moves into residential care. We argue that the complexity of assistive technology requires significant insight into the everyday lives of service users in order to help determine its effectiveness or, indeed, how effectiveness is meaningfully created in situ. We draw on ethnographic work with nine households taking part in ATTILA to examine in what ways and to what extent currently prescribed assistive technologies assist people with dementia or their unpaid carers with everyday life. We suggest that carers and people with dementia not be framed as innovators of some imagined future of gerontechnology-mediated care. Rather their current experiences with simple, un-networked assistive technology is inherently innovative as these social actors act as bricoleurs engaged in adapting mass-produced devices to fit within their individual, lived socio-material realities. We critically reflect on our fieldwork to question what futures assistive technologies and other gerontechnologies may produce for dementia care in the UK. Where currently prescribed electronic assistive technology may introduce new challenges leading to their abandonment or require adaptation to appropriately match local needs, what hope does more sophisticated gerontechnology have for successful implementation in dementia care and who will decides its future acceptability?

The Social alarm. Established telecare for older people?

Author: Randi Stokke (NTNU in Gjøvik)  email

Short Abstract

Telecare is advocated as a promising solution to meet the increased pressure on community care services. In this paper, I argue that the concepts of scrips and domestication can be valuable ways of analysing the Social alarm in use.

Long Abstract

There are an increased pressure on community care services, due to increased living expectancies and changes in policies. Technology innovations are heavily promoted as a promising solutions providing active ageing, independent living, cost reduction etc. The one big established telecare for older people in western societies are the Social alarm, provided to older frail people living at home. The alarm is a widely diffused telecare integrated in heterogeneous network of human and nonhuman actors aiming to support "aging safely in place".

This paper explores the Social alarm through ethnographic research. I will be drawing on preliminary empirical results from my PhD-project in two municipalities in Norway. I argue that the concepts of scrips and domestication can be valuable ways of analysing this well-established technology in use.

Technologies are scripted (Akrich, 1992). I argue that the scripts in established technologies tend to be unarticulated. When the aim and purpose are blurry, the users both negotiate alternative agreements for how and when to use the alarm, and hesitate to use the alarm when in need of fear that the reason are not legitimate.

This leading to insecurity but also unleashing possible individual interpretation, tinkering and negotiations of alternative practices. In this way, the technology is both leashed and unleashed affecting practices in unpredictable ways.

Tangible Memories: Co-designing proxy objects for storytelling in care homes

Author: Helen Manchester (University of Bristol)  email

Short Abstract

This paper explores the co-design of tangible user interfaces to enable storytelling with older adults. We explore the absences and presences that the older adults worked with, across space/time and human/non human elements, in making sense of their lives lived in embodied and material ways.

Long Abstract

Objects have their own biographies and take on multiple and fluid roles in our lives, connecting emotional worlds, people and ideas across a life. Objects can serve as icons that help to bind moments of experience together, allowing people to create new narratives about their identities and begin to 'curate' a story of their lives . Places and landscapes also have their own stories, different for each person who has experienced it.

In working with older adults across three care settings in the UK we discovered that older adults were not only physically removed from the landscapes and places where they had spent their lives but also often had lost many of the personal objects that had been important. Working closely with older adults we co-designed a set of geographical tangible user interfaces as a form of 'proxy object' to stand in for objects and places that had been lost in the transition to the care home environment.

This paper explores the process of involving older adults, and the rich context of their lives lived in embodied and material ways, as co-designers of these technological proxy objects. In particular we explore the various absences and presences that the older adults were continually working with, across space/time and human/non human elements, in order to support our co-design work and to begin to curate a story of their lives to others.

Towards Socio-Gerontechnology: modelling the theoretical intersection of STS and gerontology

Authors: Alexander Peine (Utrecht University)  email
Louis Neven (Avans University of Applied Sciences)  email

Short Abstract

This paper investigates the theoretical gains which can be made by combining conceptual and theoretical insights from Science and Techology Studies and social gerontology. It provides a model that allows a deeper and theoretically more refined understanding of the ageing-technology nexus.

Long Abstract

This paper investigates the theoretical gains that can be made by combining insights from STS and social gerontology. Although ageing is globally recognized as a societal challenge and investments in technologies to deal with this challenge are high, current gerontechnologies mostly fail to live up to expectations. Partly this is due to the poor connection between social scientific understanding of ageing and the technically focused discipline of gerontechnology. Our paper presents a theoretical model in which the relationship between designers and users is modelled as reciprocal and evolving over time. The connection between design and use is made via the script concept whereas the connection between use and design is made via the user representation concept (both from actor-network theory). Acceptance is seen as dependent on technological literacy, technology generations, perceived stigmatisation, perceived benefit and domesticability of a technology. Older users are, in turn, seen as potentially active actors who are both enabled and constrained by gerontechnologies. The evolution of the connection between older user and the technology can subsequently be followed over time, which allows for conceptualizing the life course as a user-technology hybrid. This model sensitises us to the stereotypical imagery of ageing that underlies many gerontechnological designs, to the constraining and enabling effects of age scripts that are the result of such user representations and to the ability of older people to act as active technology users who change and circumvent such scripts. It thus allows a deeper and theoretically more refined understanding of the ageing-technology nexus.

This track is closed to new paper proposals.