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Keeping up with the information society: how active older users negotiate inclusion and participation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (Welfare and Lifecourse)
(Welfare and Lifecourse)
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper builds on an on-going project that aims to contribute to the scholarly debates on the “digital divide” and “digital inclusion” by bringing to fore the complexities of older people’s understandings and usage of digital technologies.  Older people are often considered one of the vulnerable groups and are among the key targets of the digital inclusion policies, which tend to focus on user-centered solutions on the micro-level. The critical approach employed in this paper allows reconsidering the normative, inclusionary, micro-level foundations of digital inclusion discourses that often inform the policy. The paper builds on the analysis of focus group interviews with 30 older adults (65+) who are active internet users in Sweden, the country often considered as one of the leading IT nations worldwide. We analyze how active older users construct, reproduce and negotiate ideological notions of participation, inclusion and their privileged position of (active) users as imperatives and prerequisites of “keeping up with the (information) society”. Additionally, the analysis suggests that discourses on digital inclusion need to acknowledge the divide that older people themselves create as they discursively position themselves against non-users when describing when, how and why they engage with digital technologies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
digital divide, older users, Sweden, participation, ideology
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies; Sociology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-266431OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-266431DiVA: diva2:868128
12th Conference of the European Sociological Association,"Differences, Inequalities and Sociological Imagination", August 25-28, Prague
Available from: 2015-11-09 Created: 2015-11-09 Last updated: 2015-11-09

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Kania-Lundholm, MagdalenaTorres, Sandra
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