The social connectedness of digital practices in later life: It’s not just about learning, it’s all about relationships
In the last 10 years there has been an increase in access to information and communication technologies among older people, stimulated by widespread adoption of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). At the same time, digital inclusion policies and training programmes continue to develop to increase the access to the digital society for this social group. In this context, it is pertinent to revisit a long-standing research question about how older adults use and learn to use these technologies in their everyday lives while paying attention to how their subjectivities and their knowledge are situated in the collective shared knowledge of digital practices. Using examples taken from a digital team ethnographic study exploring social media use in later life, this article delves into how learning digital practices and affective relations assemble and what they do to older people’s subjectivities. Their engagements show how these practices are illustrative of the relevance of social connectivity, place, things and affects for learning how to use ICTs. We, then, move to discuss the policy implications of this for the understandings of ageing within a digital society.
Beneito-Montagut, Roser, Begueria, Arantza and Cassián, Nizaiá 2023. The social connectedness of digital practices in later life: It’s not just about learning, it’s all about relationships. The Sociological Review 10.1177/00380261221144154