New publications: Methodological strategies, mobile phones, and gendered power

New publications: Methodological strategies, mobile phones, and gendered power

Two new research articles of CNSC members have been published recently. The first, an article titled “Methodological strategies to understand smartphone practices for social connectedness in later life” in Springer‘s long-standing conference proceedings “Human aspects of IT for the aged population” was released just recently. Mireia Fernández-Ardèvol, Andrea Rosales, and Daniel Blanche coauthor this article with other six colleagues under the framework of the international research project “Being Connected” at Home: Making use of digital devices in later life (BCONNECT@HOME). You can read the abstract below and visit the publisher’s webpage in the links section.

Abstract: Digital practices in later life are not yet well understood. Therefore, this paper discusses the framework for a research design project that aims at tracing differences and similarities in how older adults use their smartphones in circumstances in and outside their homes in Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Canada. The research questions of this international research project focus on the extent to which digital mobile practices relate to perceived social connectedness among older adults aged 55–79 years old. While studies have shown that the subjective experience of ‘being connected’ supports continued wellbeing in later life, there remains an insufficient understanding of the processes through which digital mediated social interaction is effective for social connectedness. The analytical framework of the project prioritizes the co-constituency of (digital) technology and ageing, and takes digital practices in everyday life as its entry point. The main data collection tool will be the tracking of smartphone activity of 600 older adults (150 per country) during four weeks. An online survey and qualitative interviews will gather data about the meanings of the quantified digital practices, and how they shape (if they do) the participants’ connection to the world. This approach will allow us not only to get insight into what older adults say how they used their smartphone but also to gain insight into their real-life daily use. The assessment of the challenges, strengths, and weaknesses of the methods contributes towards an accurate and appropriate interpretation of empirical results and their implications.

The second is a book chapter authored by Mireia Fernández-Ardèvol called “One phone, two phones, four phones: Older women and mobile telephony in Lima, Peru“. The chapter has been published in Routledge‘s volume “Gendered power and mobile technology: Intersections in the global south“, and edited by Caroline Wamala Larsson and Laura Stark. You can also check the abstract below and visit the publisher’s website in the links section.

Abstract: This chapter describes older women’s relationships to mobile telephony and the relationships they conduct through mobile telephony, comparing them to available international empirical evidence. Age and life course stages can be understood as socially constructed aspects of social identity that are neither static nor immutable properties of individuals. Departing from naturalizing discourses, some studies have focused on how age and particularly ageing intersect with power relations: old age brings with it a loss of authority and status. Personal networks play a role in the adoption of new information and communication technology-related practices and in learning processes, both in terms of support and in terms of expectations put on older individuals. The evolution of one’s personal network of social support and the evolution of the expectations placed upon the older person by this network. Phones are used within specific media ecologies and, beyond individual preferences, the entire communication strategy is shaped by available telecommunication services and the pricing system.

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