E05
Assembly, silence and dissent in the design and use of gerontechnologies

Convenors:
Louis Neven (Avans University of Applied Sciences)
Daniel Lopez Gomez (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)
Alexander Peine (Utrecht University)
Stream:
Assembly, silence, dissent
Location:
Marcus Merriman Lecture Theatre (Bowland North)
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This panel brings together contributions at the intersection of STS, social gerontology and gerontechnology with the aim of discussing the assemblages, silencing and dissent which is part and parcel of the design and use of gerontechnologies.

Long abstract:

Recently there have been large investments by technology companies and governments in technologies which are aimed at older people. These investment are driven in part by the aim to increase the wellbeing of older people, but in large part they are also aimed at solving societal challenges associated with demographic ageing and at creating new economic activity in the era of the 'silver economy'. The rhetoric that accompanies these investments is one of 'triple win' (Neven & Peine 2017): societal challenges are solved, economic gains are made and older people also benefit for instance by facilitating ageing in place. However, critical studies at the intersection of STS and social gerontology have begun to show the impact of gerontechnologies on the lives of older people. They show that the promise of gerontechnology for older people needs to be nuanced as the introduction of gerontechnologies is often accompanied by a reduction of autonomy, invasion of privacy, unsolicited changes in care etc. So far, however, such insights have remained under-theorized and scattered across disciplines. This panel brings together contributions at the intersection of gerontology, gerontechnology and STS. The empirical focus will be on the broad scope of assemblages, power and silencing which occur in design and the disassemblages, creativity and dissent which occurs in practice, but also the ways in which older people cannot escape from this. From this empirical base we aim to facilitate a discussion at a theoretical or conceptual level on the intersection of STS, social/cultural gerontology and gerontechnology.