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Discourses of technology, ageing and participation

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Fleming, AJ ORCID: 0000-0001-9895-1928, Mason, C and Paxton, G 2018 , 'Discourses of technology, ageing and participation' , Palgrave Communications, vol. 4 , pp. 1-9 , doi: 10.1057/s41599-018-0107-7.

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Abstract

The proliferation of digital technology has brought about rapid social and economic change, the consequences of which have not been evenly distributed. Older people, in particular, tend to be less engaged with digital technology and as a result, are said to be at risk of 'digital exclusion'. In this paper, we explore how digital technology is discursively linked to ageing and social and economic participation. The analysis is based on 38 interviews with representatives of industry, government and civil society asked to share their views of the opportunities and risks associated with age and participation in the context of rapid developments in digital technology. Using discourse analysis we identify two competing ways interview participants made connections between digital technology and its perceived effects on the economic and social participation of an ageing population. In the first, digital technology drives human progress as a ‘fix’ to some of the social and economic challenges associated with ageing but also demands a cautious approach to minimise unforeseen negative consequences. In the second, digital technology is a tool, whose development can be driven by humans in order to solve a range of problems, including economic and social participation in later life. We consider the implications of these two discourses, discussing the potential of each for achieving a sense of empowerment in the ageing community and addressing the challenge of lifelong participation.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Fleming, AJ and Mason, C and Paxton, G
Keywords: discourses, lifelong participation, ageing, technology
Journal or Publication Title: Palgrave Communications
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.
ISSN: 2055-1045
DOI / ID Number: 10.1057/s41599-018-0107-7
Copyright Information:

© 2018 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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