Older Active Users’ Understandings of Digitization: What the Critical Lens Can Offer

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Magdalena KANIA-LUNDHOLM, Uppsala University, Dept. of Sociology, Sweden
Sandra TORRES, Uppsala University, Dept. of Sociology, Sweden
Critical internet and media scholarship has focused primarily on contributing to the theoretical debates within the field of media and communications. Very few empirical studies have applied the ideas that this theoretical lens offers. This presentation uses therefore the critical perspective in order to shed light on older active ICT users’ experiences and understandings of digital technologies and digitization. The presentation – which is based on a project that uses focus group interviews with older active ICT users - aims to contribute to the literature on older ICT users which tends to be characterized by the celebratory accounts on digital technology and its impact on everyday life; accounts which critical internet and media scholars call “digital sublime” or “digital discourse”. Inspired by Boltanski’s pragmatist sociology of critique and the notion that people’s own take on their situation are fruitful sources of information from which projects of emancipation can be launched, this presentation uses the notions of ideology, power and inclusion - which are central to critical scholarship - to make sense of older active ICT users’ understandings of digitization. In doing so, we explore the fruitfulness of the critical lens for studies of ICT users while bringing attention to older active ICT users’ own critical capacities.