Accepted Paper:

New bikes for the old: materialisations of active ageing  


Aske Juul Lassen (University of Copenhagen)
Tiago Moreira (Durham University)

Paper short abstract:

By exploring two bike initiatives for older persons in Denmark, we study how they materialise active ageing differently and unfold their sociotechnical differences. We suggest that this prompts rethinking of how STS constructs its problematics and imaginaries about technologies and older people.

Paper long abstract:

In recent years, new bike initiatives for the old have been developed in Denmark as part of an overall ambition to promote active ageing. We explore two of such initiatives, their assemblages and the ways they enact old age and active ageing differently. Whereas 'Cycling without Age' rickshaws promote social participation of the old, 'Duo-Bikes' aim to maintain and/or optimise the functional capacities of the old through physical activity. Drawing on ethnographic data, we unfold the synchronous sociotechnical differences across co-existing technologies by following the use of the bikes in two Danish municipalities.

We argue that studying bicycling in old age is not only justified by the emerging importance of the bicycle in addressing key social, environmental and economic challenges, but also by how it prompts rethinking of how STS constructs its problematics. We suggest that STS has consistently valued older people's engagement with technologies to highlight the problematic distributions of knowledge and power in establishing the 'regime of technoscientific promises'. We propose a different approach, wherein we empirically explore parallel sociotechnical arrangements, making visible the conditions under which different sociotechnical arrangements might be possible and imaginable.

Panel Age02
Practices and materialisations of active ageing