The Mutual Emergence of Technological Innovations, Older Users, and Active Ageing: An Inquiry into Ontology
Social studies of geron-technology often explore the relations between technology and its users epistemologically and thus tend to remain within the analytical realm of the subjective experiences of individual actors. While this is certainly important, it has some problematic implications such as analyzing ‘technology’, ‘user’, and indeed ‘the researcher’ as singular and detached entities, thus closing down possibilities to explore mutual emergence.
We wish to explore the implications and potentials of turning the study of socio-gerontechnology towards ontology. We look back on our own ethnographic studies of - and in - an innovation project aiming to develop welfare technologies for older people in Denmark. Re-working our empirical-analytical material through the conceptual lens of ontology, we analyze the worlds performed in the innovation project, and discuss the implications of this kind of analysis for design, policies on ageing, and the older people. As such, we explore what an ontological approach to socio-gerontechnology may be, and what kinds of questions emerge in the encounter between social gerontology and ontological STS.