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Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life

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This presentation explores the variety of socio-material arrangements that enable older people to continue living independently. Drawing on a collection of ethnographic observations and interviews with telecare users the author (Daniel López) conducted at their homes in 2004 and 2008, he analyses in detail how the process of adopting the service makes visible and puts to the test certain arrangements that already exist, providing room for their modification and the creation of new ones. Rather than replacing existing arrangements with new solutions, I suggest maintenance infrastructures be devised to support the bounded and inalienable undertaking of caring for these arrangements which configure our autonomous, yet ageing lives.

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Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life

  1. 1. Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life. Daniel López Gómez STS-b Research Group Estudis de Psicologia i Ciències de l’Educació 1 López, D. (2014). Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.01
  2. 2. • 2009-2012: FP7 European Project: “Ethical Frameworks for Telecare Technologies for older people at home” (EFORTT) • 2010-2014: “Value Ageing“ is a 48 month Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and pathways Action with the purpose of incorporating European fundamental values into ICT for ageing. Projects 2 López, D. (2014). Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.01
  3. 3. López, D. (2014). Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.01
  4. 4. López, D. (2014). Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.01
  5. 5. • How ageing with autonomy is performed in real-life contexts when autonomy-enabling innovations are implemented, • In what sense technologial innovation enabled or disabled older people to live autonomously. Main goals 5 López, D. (2014). Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.01
  6. 6. Data 6 Installation After 1 year More than 3 years 12 users observed and interviewed at home 2 users observed and interviewed at home 10 users observed and interviewed at home 11 users observed at home during follow-up López, D. (2014). Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.01
  7. 7. López, D. (2014). Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.01
  8. 8. Rosa (Installation) Montse (After 1 year) "What if I do not answer (to the teleoperator)?” "And if I’m not at home, what happens?” So if I’m not at home it doesn’t work, uff… “So, if I forget to take it off once (when leaving home), this ... what happens?" "But if that happens, if I can’t get from here to there, then it is all over anyway." “Taking the telecare pendant on and off constantly would be annoying and I don’t want to wear it when I’m out on the street. That’s why the telecare pendant is usually hanging in the kitchen, where I spend most of the time. It’s near at hand. It is obvious that I couldn’t reach it if I fell down, I’m aware of that…” “I remember when they rang me for the first time: they wanted to know if I was wearing the telecare pendant. As I didn’t expect it, I couldn’t come out with a lie. Then, they told me off and said: you must wear it! Since then every time they ask about the telecare pendant, my answer is: ‘yes, yes yes!’ But you mustn’t snitch on me! The truth is that I do not want to wear it.” López, D. (2014). Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.01
  9. 9. • Security arrangement: o Boundaries between indoor/outdoor as safe/unsafe spaces o The home is define as a container of threatening events bounded by thresholds of reachability and audibility. Users are free of these events depending on these thresholds. o In case of need, users rely on fast, efficient and tested responses. o Anonymous people, you trust the procedure: teleoperators shift but they follow the same protocol. o Care as a response to an individual need that must be explicitly asked for. o Care giving and receiving is a matter of choice o Care can be split in tasks that can be delegated to different actors (family as emotional supporters, teleoperators look after and migrant caregivers do the bodywork) o Ageing identity entails more self-monitoring and better adjustment of lifestyle to risks Interferences between security arrangements and community and family arrangements 9 • Community and family arrangements. o Communal and in-between spaces are key element to create and maintain mutual support and solidarity among neighbours and family. o Home is a space defined by different social activities and attachments o These in-between spaces can be physical (communal courtyards) or virtual (daily phone chats) o In case of need, you rely on who takes care of you o Known people, you trust specific persons for specific tasks o Care is an embodied burden that is usually gendered-defined, entails unpaid carework, and is hard to delegate to others without making it meaningless, “cold”, and a source of guilt. o Ageing identity is defined by being aware of an increasing fragility but without entirely defining who they are or what they do. López, D. (2014). Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.01
  10. 10. Autonomy is caring for those fragile arrangements that hold us and enable us to think and act in a certain way We should place the fragility of these arrangements at the centre of the design of any technological innovation and generate collaborative innovation processes that could adjust more easily and more effectively the arrangements needed to confront the challenges of aging. Autonomy and fragility / Care and autonomy- enabling innovations 10 López, D. (2014). Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.01
  11. 11. Gratiane de Moustier,Aging at Home:The Story of Odile (2008) available from: http://www.gratianedemoustier.com/odile.html López, D. (2014). Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.01
  12. 12. Gratiane de Moustier,Aging at Home:The Story of Odile (2008) available from: http://www.gratianedemoustier.com/odile.html López, D. (2014). Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.01
  13. 13. Gratiane de Moustier,Aging at Home:The Story of Odile (2008) available from: http://www.gratianedemoustier.com/odile.html López, D. (2014). Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.01
  14. 14. “The very notion of her independence being tampered with leaves her with an uneasy air of discomfort. The high priority she places on what others may view as menial tasks often leaves Odile under pressure and in a panic, continually searching for her next task. Odile's continual striving to maintain, what in her view resembles her own meaningful and necessary independence, is a continual drain on her fragile frame” G. de Moustier, Aging at Home: The Story of Odile, URL: http://www.gratianedemoustier.com/Resources/gdemoustierodilen.jpeg. López, D. (2014). Little arrangements that matter. Rethinking autonomy-enabling innovations for later life. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.01

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