Participatory Ageing as Assemblage: Infrastructuring in Practice

Guillem Palà, Gonzalo Correa


Abstract: Scientification and technification of later life have pushed the very notion of ageing, embracing materiality as one of the co-producers of a continuous process of becoming. In this paper, we want to explore the role of materiality in a mechanism designed to allow older people to develop arguments regarding digitalization to inform public policies. To achieve this aim, we will employ a concept that will unfold the layers with which theories of ageing are configured in practice: infrastructuring. In our particular case study, this will highlight the coordinated effort among different agents needed to identify, negotiate and prove who can be considered a legitimate older citizen. Along this path, we will face three instances where the theory is challenged by practice: 1) the very sense of what an infrastructure is; 2) the theory about what a consensus conference is; and 3) what the definition of older person is. To conclude, we suggest the necessity to switch the very question about who can be considered an older person to how in a certain context a heterogeneous assemblage of (human and non-human) actors defines what an older person is.

Keywords: assemblage; consensus conference; doing age; infrastructuring; older people.

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