Social change in the twenty-first century is shaped by both demographic changes associated with ageing societies and significant technological change and development. Outlining the basic principles of a new academic field, Socio-gerontechnology, this book explores common conceptual, theoretical and methodological ideas that become visible in the critical scholarship on ageing and technology at the intersection of Age Studies and Science and Technology Studies (STS).
Comprised of 15 original chapters, three commentaries and an afterword, the book explores how ageing and technology are already interconnected and constantly being intertwined in Western societies. Topics addressed cover a broad variety of socio-material domains, including care robots, the use of social media, ageing-in-place technologies, the performativity of user involvement and public consultations, dementia care and many others. Together, they provide a unique understanding of ageing and technology from a social sciences and humanities perspective and contribute to the development of new ontologies, methodologies and theories that might serve as both critique of and inspiration for policy and design.
International in scope, including contributions from the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Australia, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden, Socio-gerontechnology is an agenda-setting text that will provide an introduction for students and early career researchers as well as for more established scholars who are interested in ageing and technology.
With my long-time friend and colleague Daniel López we’ve had the immense luck to take part writing one of the chapters (our thanks to the editors for the invitation, and for their insights in the writing process).
Looking back at our involvement in the EFORTT project, our contribution is titled:
Civilising technologies for an ageing society? The performativity of participatory methods in Socio-gerontechnology
Given the importance of participatory methods in gerontechnology – especially to prevent the uncritical reproduction of discriminatory imaginaries in technological development – the lack of appreciation of how these methods can contribute to socio-material configurations of age and technology is striking. Inspired by the semiotic-material study of methods, this chapter provides a detailed account of how participation and public engagement were performed in a project on telecare both authors were involved in between 2008 and 2011. We show how the ‘civilising’ endeavour of this project was undertaken through the creation of two different instances of participation: in the first, representatives, experts and policymakers were enacted as stakeholders, in the second, end-users (older people and caregivers) were enacted as concerned citizens with telecare as a public issue. In foregrounding the realities enacted in the performance of these methods we emphasise, in conclusion, the need to address the materialisations of later life and technology, which these participatory methods help bring to the fore in Socio-gerontechnological developments.
– López Gómez, D / Criado, T.S. (2021): Civilising technologies for an ageing society? The performativity of participatory methods in Socio-gerontechnology. In A. Peine / B.L. Marshall / W. Martin / L. Neven (Eds.), Socio-Gerontechnology. Interdisciplinary Critical Studies of Ageing and Technology, London: Routledge, pp. 85 – 98.