On Old Age and Its Multiplicity: Exploring Discourses and Materialities about Getting Older

Francesco Miele, Nicoletta Bosco, Valeria Cappellato, Elisa Castellaccio, Enrico Maria Piras


Abstract: Old age is at the core of complex constellations composed by media discourses, care and mundane activities, and affective and technological practices that involve a wide range of human and non-human actors. While during the last years concepts such as “active” and “successful” ageing have more and more emphasised the individual responsibility of older adults in managing their own health, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic elderly have been increasingly framed as vulnerable subjects. This Crossing Boundaries will explore the different instances assumed by the “old age” as an emerging object by the enactment of discourses and materialities. In doing so, this Crossing Boundaries mobilizes different theoretical perspectives, such as STS, media studies and sociology of health. The authors will explore three main issues: 1) the public discourse about the health status of older people; 2) the collective management of Alzheimer’s disease in and outside institutions; 3) the involvement of older adults in designing information and communication technologies.

Keywords: old age; pandemics, Alzheimer, gerontotechnology; vulnerability.

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