Seniors and Digital Technology: A Qualitative Approach to Uruguay's One Tablet-per-Retired Low-Income-Senior Policy (Plan Ibirapitá)

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:22
Oral Presentation
Alexander CASTLETON, Carleton University, Canada, ObservaTic, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
This project is a study of a public policy that is taking place in Uruguay: the one tablet-per retired-senior program called Plan Ibirapitá. The general objective is to study how the tablets are affecting the life of seniors and changing their practices and identities. In this project, I look at the relation between seniors and tablets through the lens of the social construction of technology, technological mediation, and the philosophy of technology. Through these theoretical standpoints, I examine how the tablets mediate seniors’ realities and assess in what ways they are both co-constituted in their interaction. I also engage with previous literature on the non-use of technology. Data was gathered utilizing in-depth interviews and performing observation at tablet-use training facilities in the city of Minas, located at the center-east region of Uruguay. Agreeing with previous literature, in this research I suggest the need to look at seniors as active agents in their relation to technology, and thus the need to distance from deterministic standpoints. In this sense, using some approaches from the philosophy of technology, I propose an 'existential' perspective to understand the relation between seniors and technology.